In 2021, 41% of the EU’s population aged 25-34 years had completed tertiary education.
The EU Member States have set themselves a target of increasing the share of the EU population aged 25-34 who have completed tertiary education to 45% by 2030. Latvia already met that target in 2021, with 46% of the population having completed tertiary education of one sort or another.
Almost half of the EU Member States have already met the 2030 EU-level target for this indicator: Luxembourg, Ireland, Cyprus, Lithuania, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Sweden, Denmark, Spain, Slovenia, Portugal and Latvia. In contrast, the lowest shares were recorded in Romania (23%), Italy (28%) and Hungary (33%).
Looking at the differences between age groups with regards to educational attainment in 2021, there is a clear age difference: 37% of the EU population aged 25–54 had a tertiary level education compared with 22% of those aged 55–74.
There is a clear gender difference among those with tertiary education: a larger share of women aged 25-34 had completed tertiary education than men (47% women, 36% men). While the share of men with tertiary education has been on the increase over the last ten years, the rate of growth has been somewhat slower than for women. As a result, the gender gap has become slightly broader over time.
In wider educational statistics Lithuania, Czechia, Slovakia, Latvia and Poland had the lowest shares of people with a low level of education (all less than 10 %), while Spain, Italy, Malta and Portugal had the highest (all above 40 %).