Educational Attainment


Educational attainment measures the highest level of formal schooling community members have completed.

Why This Matters 

Educational attainment is an important indicator of the knowledge, skills, and competencies individuals have that allow them to participate effectively in society and the economy. Highly educated individuals tend to be less prone to unemployment and have significantly higher lifetime earnings through income (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 2011a). Studies have shown that educational attainment has an impact on many aspects of well-being, with higher education related to longer lives, greater participation in politics and the community, and lower crime (OECD, 2011a). Consequently, educational attainment provides a good indicator of individual well-being as well as whether students are being adequately prepared to meet the demands of the labour market.

Measurement and Limitations

Educational attainment is measured as the highest level of formal education completed by individuals 25 and over. There are five levels of educational attainment measured: no certificate or diploma, a secondary school diploma or equivalent; a registered apprenticeship or other trades certificate or diploma; a college, CEGEP, or other non-university certificate or diploma; and a university degree, certificate, or diploma.

This indicator only takes into account the highest level of education completed.

Data source

Statistics Canada. 2017. Bridgewater, T [Census subdivision], Nova Scotia and Lunenburg, CTY [Census division], Nova Scotia (table). Census Profile. 2016 Census. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 98-316-X2016001. Ottawa. Released November 29, 2017.

Historical data can be found here

2016, *2011, 2006

* In 2011, Postsecondary certificate, diploma or degree’ includes ‘apprenticeship or trades certificates or diplomas,’ ‘college, CEGEP or other non-university certificates or diplomas’ and university certificates, diplomas and degrees



Educational Attainment in the Sustainable Development Goals

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4. Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning
4. Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning

4. Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning

Obtaining a quality education is the foundation to improving people’s lives and sustainable development. Major progress has been made towards increasing access to education at all levels and increasing enrolment rates in schools particularly for women and girls. Basic literacy skills have improved tremendously, yet bolder efforts are needed to make even greater strides for achieving universal education goals. For example, the world has achieved equality in primary education between girls and boys, but few countries have achieved that target at all levels of education.