Adult educational attainment

Positive change

The proportion of adults with at least secondary school qualifications has increased by 16 percent since 1991

  • Image, adult education attainment
    • The proportion of adults (aged 25–64 years) with at least secondary school-level qualifications increased steadily from 61.2 percent in 1991 to 77 percent in 2015.
    • The number of adults with a bachelor's degree or higher rose from 8.3 percent in 1991 to 29.8 percent in 2015.

     

     
    1. Includes 'bachelor's degree or higher' category.
    Note: This graph is interactive. Hover over the data points to see the exact values. Click legend text to hide or show variables.

    View source data

    The source data for this indicator is available from Statistics NZ’s Household Labour Force Survey statistics through a special information request. 

    Definition and measure

    Educational attainment is an indirect measure of human capital. A higher level of human capital can improve economic efficiency by providing organisations and individuals with knowledge and skills for economic development. Educational attainment is also important for participation in society.

    This indicator measures the educational attainment of adults aged 25–64 years in terms of two attainment levels: those with at least secondary school qualifications, and those with a bachelor's degree or higher.

    'At least secondary school attainment level' includes any formal qualification at the level of NCEA level 1 (or its predecessor School Certificate) or higher. 'Bachelor’s degree or higher' includes bachelor's degrees, postgraduate certificates or diplomas, master's degrees, and doctorates.

    The measure used here for 'at least secondary school attainment level' differs from educational indicators for 'upper secondary attainment' used by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The OECD measure of ‘upper secondary attainment' excludes NCEA level 1 or School Certificate, whereas these are included here.

    Previous publications

    Key findings on New Zealand's progress using a sustainable development approach: 2010
    Measuring New Zealand's progress using a sustainable development approach: 2008
    Key findings on New Zealand's progress using a sustainable development approach: 2008

    Page updated July 2016

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