Most Educated Countries 2021

Hover overClick on a tile for details.
Population

Nations around the world have different levels of education. In more developed nations, most adults are literate and have at least a basic high school education. In less-developed nations, the opposite is usually true. In underdeveloped and undeveloped nations, the quality of education is low, while many people may not have access to education at all.

According to a 2017 UNESCO report, the number of students worldwide attending higher education institutions increased from 100 million in 2000 to 207 million in 2014.

A country’s education levels can be broken down into three tiers: below upper secondary, upper secondary, and tertiary. Secondary education covers two phases on the International Standard Classification of Education scale: lower secondary education (the final phase of basic education) and upper secondary education. Secondary education takes place after six years of primary education and is followed by higher education, vocational education, or employment. Secondary education is compulsory in most countries. Tertiary education, also known as post-secondary education, refers to any education pursued beyond the high school level, such as certificate programs, undergraduate degree programs, graduate degree programs, etc.

Several surveys and studies have been conducted to find the most educated countries in the world. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD, has made a list of the world’s most educated countries. This list is based on the number of adult residents ages 25 to 64 who have received a tertiary education: two-year or four-year degrees or have received an education through a vocational program.

Based on this information, Canada is the most educated country globally, with 56.71% of adults meeting the OECD criteria. Japan has the second-highest percentage of 51.44%, followed by Israel with 50.92%.

The top 10 most educated nations based on this study are:

In general, the lowest education rates are seen in underdeveloped countries. According to the Global Partnership for Education, education plays a crucial role in human, social, and economic development. Education can promote gender equality, reduce child marriage, promote peace, and increase a person’s chances of having a healthy life. The Global Partnership for Education considers education to be a human right, one that grants every person more chances in life, such as employment opportunities, better health, and the ability to participate in the political process.

Below is a table of each country’s percentage of people completing tertiary education, upper secondary education, and below upper secondary education.

Most Educated Countries 2021

Country % Tertiary % Upper Secondary % Below Upper Secondary 2021 Population
Canada56.71%34.41%8.87%38,067,903
Japan51.44%NaN%NaN%126,050,804
Israel50.92%36.46%12.63%8,789,774
South Korea47.74%39.87%12.39%51,305,186
United States46.36%44.29%9.35%332,915,073
United Kingdom45.74%35.42%18.83%68,207,116
Ireland45.66%36.35%17.99%4,982,907
Australia45.36%35.63%19.01%25,788,215
Finland44.30%43.80%11.90%5,548,360
Norway43.21%38.76%18.03%5,465,630
Switzerland42.59%45.21%12.19%8,715,494
Iceland42.38%34.75%22.86%343,353
Sweden41.94%41.06%17.00%10,160,169
Luxembourg40.33%36.37%23.30%634,814
Lithuania40.27%52.55%7.17%2,689,862
Belgium40.26%36.54%23.20%11,632,326
Estonia39.66%49.02%11.32%1,325,185
Denmark39.23%42.10%18.67%5,813,298
New Zealand37.73%41.15%21.12%4,860,643
Netherlands37.17%41.21%21.62%17,173,099
Spain36.35%22.72%40.93%46,745,216
France35.21%43.17%21.62%65,426,179
Slovenia34.30%53.38%12.32%2,078,724
Latvia33.88%53.73%12.39%1,866,942
Austria32.39%52.57%15.04%9,043,070
Greece31.03%41.68%27.29%10,370,744
Poland29.92%62.19%7.89%37,797,005
Germany28.58%57.94%13.48%83,900,473
Hungary24.05%59.97%15.97%9,634,164
Portugal24.04%23.91%52.05%10,167,925
Czech Republic23.93%69.87%6.21%10,724,555
Slovakia23.10%68.21%8.70%5,460,721
Costa Rica22.99%16.52%60.49%5,139,052
Colombia22.49%31.29%46.22%51,265,844
Argentina21.41%40.06%38.53%45,605,826
Turkey20.01%19.28%60.71%85,042,738
Italy18.67%42.25%39.08%60,367,477
Mexico17.42%20.24%62.34%130,262,216
Indonesia11.86%26.04%62.10%276,361,783
South Africa7.44%65.83%26.73%60,041,994

Most Educated Countries 2021