41% of young EU adults hold a tertiary degree

In 2021, 41 % of the EU’s population aged 25-34 years had completed tertiary education.

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.

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.

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.

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