Press Release 30/11/2018


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One in four people were educated at university level in the Basque Country in 2016

Two thirds of Vocational Training qualifications corresponded to higher level studies in 2016

As for the level of education, regardless of whether studies were completed or not, one in four people over the age of 10 (25.3%), were educated at intermediate-higher or higher university level in 2016, a total of 499,124 people, according to Eustat data.

This figure was up 1.2 percentage points on 2011, when 475,598 people reached this same level of education (24.1%). This proportion rose to 27.4% for women whilst it stood at 23% for men, meaning that, since 2011, the difference has increased in favour of the former, going from 3.5 percentage points to 4.4 in 2016.

Evolution of the population aged 10 and above in the Basque Country by level of education (%). 1986-2016


Source: EUSTAT. Statistics on population and housing.

Conversely, the illiteracy rate among those aged 10 and over in 2016 was 0.4% overall, 0.2% in the case of men and 0.5% in the case of women. This rate was particularly high among the elderly and, therefore, while the rate stood at 0.1% for the under 65s, it jumped to 0.9% for those from this age onwards, although it dropped half a point with respect to 2011.

The differences in education level by province were small. Comparatively, a higher proportion of individuals were educated to secondary school level in Álava, 22.9% compared to 21.8% for the Basque Country as a whole. Bizkaia exceeded the average level of university-educated individuals, with 26.1% compared to 25.3%. Finally, Gipuzkoa, with 19%, was up 1.1 percentage points on the Basque Country in general in terms of the number of people that had obtained vocational training qualifications.

The distribution of education level by region presented bigger differences. The regions that stood out for having a high level of university education were Plentzia-Mungia, (34.5%), Donostia-San Sebastián (27.6%), Estribaciones del Gorbea (27.0%), and Gran Bilbao (26.7%). In terms of the level of vocational training, the regions of Encartaciones (21.8%), Valles Alaveses (21.7%), Alto Deba (21.5%), Cantábrica Alavesa (21.4%) and Arratia-Nervión (21.2%) all stood out. Regarding the level of secondary education, the regions of Bajo Bidasoa (23.8%), Llanada Alavesa (23.5%) and Rioja Alavesa (23.4%) were particularly noteworthy.

Map 1: Population aged 10 and above in the Basque Country educated to university level by region (%). 2016


Source: EUSTAT. Statistics on Population and Housing.

In 2016, the number of people with a higher education qualification increased in relation to 2011

As for the level of qualification - that is, completed studies that have provided the corresponding qualification - 20% of the population aged 10 and over held an intermediate-higher or higher education qualification in 2016. This proportion rose to 22.1% in the case of women and fell to 17.7% in the case of men. Compared to 2011, the number of people with intermediate-higher and higher qualifications increased by 1.5 percentage points.

The population holding vocational training-related qualifications also grew from 15.6% in 2011 to 16.6% in 2016. More men held qualifications (19.7%) than women (13.7%). Furthermore, in 2016, there were double the number of people who had qualifications corresponding to advanced level vocational studies than those who had an intermediate level vocational qualification, specifically 66,269 people compared to 33,822.

As with the level of education, in the case of the level of qualifications, Bizkaia recorded the highest proportion of its population with university degrees (21%), followed by Gipuzkoa (19.1%) and, lastly, Álava (18.2%). Gipuzkoa had the highest proportion of its population with vocational qualifications (17.7%), compared to Álava (16.7%) and Bizkaia (15.9%).

Nine out of ten people with university studies were employed in 2016

In 2016, the qualification with the highest relative employment rate was the university degree (91%). This was very closely followed by vocational Training (88.5% and 86.9%, respectively, for the intermediate or basic level and the advanced level). At the other extreme, the employment rate among those with no qualifications was 64.2%.


Whilst 47.7% of employed people were women in the population as a whole, this proportion rose to 58.5% amongst those with university level qualifications, the only case in which there was a higher proportion of women employed. For the other levels of qualification, the percentages of men employed varied between 54.8% among those with secondary studies and 61% among those without qualifications.


For further information:

Eustat - Euskal Estatistika Erakundea / Basque Statistics Institute C/ Donostia-San Sebastián, 1 01010 Vitoria-Gasteiz Press Service: Tel: 945 01 75 62

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One in four people were educated at university level in the Basque Country in 2016

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