23.2.2024 valid documentation

Basic data of the statistics

Data description

The statistics on the educational structure of the population describe the qualifications and degrees attained by the population aged 15 and over after comprehensive school, lower secondary school or elementary school. Besides diverse data describing education, the statistics contain information on the age, sex, native language, nationality and migration of attainers of educational qualifications and degrees. The data are based on Statistics Finland’s Register of Completed Education and Degrees. Completers of qualifications and degrees are classified by level of education according to the latest/highest vocational qualification.
 

Statistical population

The statistical population of the statistics on the educational structure of the population is the population aged 15 and over. 
The statistics are based on individual-based qualification data, which Statistics Finland collects annually from the organisers of education, educational institutions, the Matriculation Examination Board, the national data reserve of institutions of higher education, Defence Command Finland and the Finnish Border Guard. Data on qualifications completed abroad are obtained from the Finnish National Board of Education, Valvira (the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health), and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. In terms of qualifications completed abroad, the Register of Completed Education and Degrees has been supplemented with data collection targeted at foreign population, which added 26,000 post-primary education qualifications to the register. The Register of Completed Education and Degrees has also been supplemented with an exchange of information carried out between the Nordic statistical agencies. The Nordic exchange of information yielded 13,000 qualifications to the register.
The data represent total data. The data on population are based on the data of the Population Information System maintained by the Population Register Centre.
 

Statistical unit

The data used to produce the statistics are obtained from Statistics Finland’s individual-based qualification data and population data.  The data from the employment statistics have been produced using existing administrative records. The statistical unit is an individual. 
 

Unit of measure

The units of measure in the statistics on the educational structure of the population are the number and percentage of individuals. In the statistics on the educational structure of the population, the population’s level of education is also measured with the average length of the highest level of education completed after the basic level per capita. The level of education indicator 246 means that the theoretic duration of education per capita is 2.5 years after the completion of comprehensive school education. The population's level of education is calculated from the population aged 20 and over. This is because many under the age of 20 have not yet completed their studies. The measure of level of education allows easy comparisons between regions in levels of education and the monitoring of temporal changes.
 

Base period

No indices tied to a particular year are calculated from the statistics. 
 

Reference period

The statistics describe the situation on the last day of the reference year. 
 

Reference area

The statistics cover the population living in Finland. The smallest unit in the statistical reporting is a municipality. 
 

Sector coverage

The statistics have no points of contact with economic activities or sectors. 
 

Time coverage

The Register of Completed Education and Degrees is based on the data on qualifications collected in the 1970 population census which are updated annually. The data of a statistical year are final; any supplements concerning a statistical year are added to the following year’s Register of Completed Education and Degrees. 
 

Frequency of dissemination

The data are published once a year. 

Concepts

Educational institution

An educational institution refers to an administrative unit with a principal or other head, which has teachers and other personnel in its service (role of employers), and which is liable to keep books and compile other documentation, in which students are registered, whose activities are regulated by a legal act or decree, which follows a national curriculum, and which is financed and controlled by a public authority. An educational institution does not refer to a school building or facility. A new educational institution is established, an educational institution is abolished or merged with another educational institution at the decision of the organiser of education (maintainer of the educational institution) or a public authority.

Statistics Finland has assigned an individualised educational institution ID to each educational institution. Educational institutions are classified according to a classification of types of educational institutions.

Educational structure of the population

Educational structure of the population describes distribution of the population aged 15 and over to attainers of primary, secondary and tertiary level qualifications and degrees. Attainers of tertiary degrees are further divided into attainers of lowest level tertiary, lower university level, higher university level and doctorate level degrees.

Educational system

The Finnish educational system is comprised of the following:

Pre-primary education is provided in Finland to 6-year-old children, usually at children's day care homes. Some 6-year-old children receive pre-primary education in comprehensive schools. Attendance of pre-primary education has been compulsory since 2015.
Comprehensive school education is general knowledge education provided for entire age cohorts. All children permanently resident in Finland must attend compulsory education. Compulsory education starts in the year of the child's seventh birthday.
Compulsory education finishes when the syllabus of comprehensives school education has been completed (9-year comprehensive school), or 10 years from the start of compulsory education. In exceptional cases compulsory education may start already at the age of six and last 11 years due to a disability or illness. A student who has received a leaving certificate from comprehensive school in the same year or in the year before it may continue to attend optional additional education (10th grade).

Post-comprehensive school education, or upper secondary general education and vocational education represent secondary level of education. Upper secondary general school education is education leading to a matriculation examination. Its scope is three years and it gives general eligibility to further education. Vocational education can be either educational institution-based or apprenticeship training. In apprenticeship training, most of the studying is comprised of learning through practical work tasks at a workplace. The qualifications are initial vocational qualifications attained in three years, which also give general eligibility to further polytechnic or university studies.

Further and specialist vocational qualifications represent further vocational education. They, as well as initial vocational qualifications can be attained in a skills examination that can be taken irrespective of the way of acquisition of professional skills, and in which skills can be proven on the basis of preparatory education for a skills examination or work experience.

Attainment of university of applied sciences degrees takes 3.5 to 4.5 years and higher university of applied sciences degrees requiring work practice 1-1.5 years. Attainment of lower university degrees takes three years while higher university degrees take two years longer. Attainers of higher level university degrees may continue their studies to licentiate and doctorate level degrees.

Level of education

In the statistics on the educational structure of the population, the population's level of education is measured with the average length of the highest level of completed education per capita. For example, level of education indicator 246 means that the theoretic duration of education per capita is 2.5 years after completion of comprehensive school education. The population's level of education is calculated from the population aged 20 and over. This is because many under the age of 20 have not yet completed their studies. The measure of level of education allows easy comparisons between regions in levels of education and monitoring of temporal changes.

Up to the end of 1997, the population's level of education was calculated from the levels of educational qualifications and degrees attained by the population aged 15 and over. The indicator of level of education can range from 150 to 800. The higher the indicator figure, the higher the level of education. In the group with level of education indicator 150, everybody has completed only elementary school, middle school or comprehensive school, whereas in the group with level of education indicator 800, everyone holds a licentiate or doctorate level degree.

Level of education

Category into which programmes leading to a qualification or degree are divided on the basis of the requirement level.

Comment:
Selection to education on a particular level of education often requires completion of a lower level of education.

The level of education is measured on the basis of both the overall duration or target time of the education and the requirement level.

Levels of education: early childhood education and care and pre-primary education (duration varies), primary education (6 years), lower secondary education (3 years, in total 9 years from the beginning of comprehensive education), upper secondary education (3 years, in total 12 years from the beginning of comprehensive education), post-secondary non-tertiary education (1-2 years, in total 13-14 years from the beginning of comprehensive education), lowest tertiary education (2-3 years, in total 14-15 years from the beginning of comprehensive education), bachelor's or equivalent level (3-4 years, in total 15-16 years from the beginning of comprehensive education), master's or equivalent level (5-6 years, in total 17-18 years from the beginning of comprehensive education) and second stage of tertiary education (2-4 years, in total 19-22 years from the beginning of comprehensive education).

The level of education indicator cannot be calculated directly on the basis of the duration presented in this concept.

Locality

An urban settlement is a cluster of buildings with at least 200 inhabitants. The delimitation is based on the population information of the previous year. Urban settlements are defined and delimited by the Finnish Environment Institute using geographic information methods that utilise the building and population data of Statistics Finland’s 250 m x 250 m grid data. The population size of grids containing buildings and their neighbouring grids, as well as the number of buildings and their floor area, are reviewed in the definition. From the uniform clusters of dwellings generated in the definition, the ones with at least 200 inhabitants are selected. All new urban settlements generated in the definition are named and numbered at Statistics Finland. In some years certain urban settlements may cease to meet the definition of urban settlement and thus disappear from the classification of urban settlements, merge into other urban settlements or withdraw from them. Administrative regional divisions do not affect the formation of urban settlements, and urban settlements do not follow municipal boundaries.

Population

The resident population of Finland on 31 December is derived from the Population Information System maintained by the Population Register Centre. Since the data for 1993, Statistics Finland and the Population Register Centre have had the same reference period, the turn of the year at midnight, which means that the number of population has been the same.

Programme leading to a qualification or degree; formal education

Programme leading to a qualification or degree refers to education comprising the comprehensive education syllabus, the general upper secondary education syllabus, the matriculation examination, the international diplomas, the Gymnasieexamen diploma, or education and training leading to an initial vocational qualification, a further vocational qualification, a specialist vocational qualification, a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, a licentiate, a doctoral degree, or a specialist degree in veterinary medicine.

Qualification/Degree

In statistics on the educational structure of the population, transition form school to further education and work and progress of studies attainers of qualifications or degrees refer to completers of matriculation examination, international matriculation examinations (IB, Reifeprüfung or Gymnasieexamen examination), and attainers of vocational qualifications, university of applied sciences degrees, higher university of applied sciences degrees or university degrees by the end of the statistical reference year. Attainers of qualifications or degrees also include attainers of qualifications or degrees in the armed services, frontier guard service or abroad. One qualification or degree per person is included in statistics: vocational qualification attained at the highest level of education/most recently attained.

The data are obtained from Statistics Finland's Register of Completed Education and Degrees. Data can only be entered into the Register for persons who have a Finnish personal ID number. For this reason data on the qualifications or degrees of persons without a personal ID number, e.g. many foreign persons, are missing from the Register.

Sector of education

Comprehensive education, general upper secondary education, vocational education, university of applied sciences education, university education.

Tertiary degree

In the statistics on the educational structure of the population, tertiary degrees comprise all lower, higher and doctorate level tertiary degrees.

Up to the end of 2001, only degrees obtained at universities and experimental or permanent university of applied sciences in accordance with the decree on universities (464/1998) were included in tertiary degrees.

University education

Tertiary education provided by universities.

Comment:
The objective of the education is a bachelor’s or master’s degree or a scientific postgraduate degree, which are licentiate's and doctoral degrees.
Education not leading to a qualification or degree can also be completed.

Vocational education and training

Education and training completed after the comprehensive education syllabus, aimed at producing vocational competence.

Comment:
Initial, further and specialist vocational qualifications can be obtained in vocational education and training.
In addition to completing a qualification, parts of a qualification can also be completed in vocational education and training.

Accuracy, reliability and timeliness

Overall accuracy

In terms of qualifications completed abroad, the Register of Completed Education and Degrees has been supplemented with data collection targeted at foreign population, which added 26,000 post-primary education qualifications to the register. The Register of Completed Education and Degrees has also been supplemented with an exchange of information carried out between the Nordic statistical agencies. The Nordic exchange of information yielded 13,000 qualifications to the register.

There is still under-coverage in terms of qualifications completed abroad in the Register of Completed Education and Degrees. The educational structure of the population with a foreign background cannot be reported reliably on the basis of the register.
 

Timeliness

The statistics are released on time, in accordance with the release calendar. The data are published 11 months after the reference period.
 

Punctuality

The statistics are released on time, in accordance with the release calendar. The data are published 11 months after the reference period. Any delays are reported separately. 
 

Comparability

Comparability - geographical

The statistics cover the population of the entire country. Under-coverage is greatest in the regions with the greatest number of immigrants. Under-coverage also pertains to the regions from which individuals head abroad for studies (such as the Åland Islands). 
 

Comparability - over time

The time series of the statistics extends back to 1970. The data are comparable and the time series is always reported in accordance with the latest statistical year. 
 

Coherence - cross domain

The statistics on the educational structure of the population are register-based, which are not otherwise published. Data on the educational structure are published in international reporting (Eurostat, OECD) based on the Labour Force Survey. There is a difference attributable to differing methods between sample-based and register-based data on the educational structure. 
 

Coherence - internal

There are no differences within the internal definitions of the statistics. The released data and classifications always accord with the latest statistical year. 
 

Source data and data collections

Source data

The data are based on administrative materials and separate collections, which cover data sources outside of the administrative materials. Separate collections yield some 500 qualifications a year. 
 

Data collection

The separate data collections are carried out in the form of postal questionnaires. 

Frequency of data collection

The data are updated on an annual basis.
 

Methods

Data compilation

The statistics are based on register data. The statistics are not adjusted with statistical methods. 
 

Data validation

The statistics are based on already published qualification data, which have been validated. The statistics on the educational structure of the population describe the changes that have occurred and the internal logic of the data. 
 

Principles and outlines

Contact organisation

Statistics Finland

Contact organisation unit

Population and Social Statistics<o:p></o:p>

Legal acts and other agreements

The compilation of statistics is guided by the general act of the national statistical service, the Statistics Act (280/2004, amend. 361/2013). Only the necessary data that are not available from administrative data sources are collected from data suppliers. Index series are published so that no individual enterprise’s data or development can be deduced from them.

Confidentiality - policy

The data protection of data collected for statistical purposes is absolutely guaranteed in accordance with the Statistics Act (280/2004), the Personal Data Act (532/1999) and the Act on the Openness of Government Activities (621/1999), as well as the requirements of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (2016/679). The data materials are protected at all stages of processing with the necessary physical and technical solutions. Statistics Finland has compiled detailed directions and instructions for confidential processing of the data. Employees have access only to the data essential for their duties. The premises where unit-level data are processed are not accessible to outsiders. Members of the personnel have signed a pledge of secrecy upon entering the service. Wilful breaching of data protection is punishable.

Confidentiality - data treatment

The data in the statistics is available for scientific studies through Statistics Finland’s research services. Given that the statistics do not contain sensitive data, protection is not required. 
 

Release policy

Statistics Finland’s release calendar lists in advance all the statistical data and publications to be released over the year. Statistical releases can be found under statistics-specific releases. Statistical data are released on the Internet at 8 am, unless otherwise indicated. The calendar is updated on weekdays. Statistics Finland’s release calendar for the coming year is published every year in December.

Data sharing

Data are shared with the Finnish National Agency for Agency as data in accordance with the information service agreement. The data are also shared in international reporting. 
 

Accessibility and clarity

Statistical data are published as database tables in the StatFin database. The database is the primary publishing site of data, and new data are updated first there. When releasing statistical data, existing database tables can be updated with new data or completely new database tables can be published.

In addition to statistical data published in the StatFin database, a release on the key data is usually published in the web service. If the release contains data concerning several reference periods (e.g. monthly and annual data), a review bringing together these data is published in the web service. Database tables updated at the time of publication are listed both in the release and in the review. In some cases, statistical data can also be published as mere database releases in the StatFin database. No release or review is published in connection with these database releases.

Releases and database tables are published in three languages, in Finnish, Swedish and English. The language versions of releases may have more limited content than in Finnish.

Information about changes in the publication schedules of releases and database tables and about corrections are given as change releases in the web service.

Data revision - policy

Revisions – i.e. improvements in the accuracy of statistical data already published – are a normal feature of statistical production and result in improved quality of statistics. The principle is that statistical data are based on the best available data and information concerning the statistical phenomenon. On the other hand, the revisions are communicated as transparently as possible in advance. Advance communication ensures that the users can prepare for the data revisions.

The reason why data in statistical releases become revised is often caused by the data becoming supplemented. Then the new, revised statistical figure is based on a wider information basis and describes the phenomenon more accurately than before.

Revisions of statistical data may also be caused by the calculation method used, such as annual benchmarking or updating of weight structures. Changes of base years and used classifications may also cause revisions to data.

Lisäksi suhdannetilastoihin tarvittaessa tämä lisäys:

Seasonally adjusted data in statistics on economic trends become revised because of the calculation method used. Additional information on a new time series observation is exploited in model-based calculation methods and this is reflected as changes in previous releases. Revisions of the latest figures to be seasonally adjusted are elaborated on in the releases and quality reports of statistics.

A summary table of the revisions that have taken place is also published in connection with key statistics on economic trends and some annual statistics. The table shows how the data for the statistical reference periods have changed between the first and the most recent statistical release.

Quality assessment

In terms of qualifications completed abroad, the Register of Completed Education and Degrees has been supplemented with data collection targeted at foreign population, which added 26,000 post-primary education qualifications to the register. The Register of Completed Education and Degrees has also been supplemented with an exchange of information carried out between the Nordic statistical agencies. The Nordic exchange of information yielded 13,000 qualifications to the register.

There is still under-coverage in terms of qualifications completed abroad in the Register of Completed Education and Degrees. The educational structure of the population with a foreign background cannot be reported reliably on the basis of the register.
 

Quality assurance

Quality management requires comprehensive guidance of activities. The quality management framework of the field of statistics is the European Statistics Code of Practice (CoP). The frameworks complement each other. The quality criteria of Official Statistics of Finland are also compatible with the European Statistics Code of Practice.

Further information: Quality management | Statistics Finland (stat.fi)

User access

Data are released to all users at the same time. Statistical data may only be handled at Statistics Finland and information on them may be given before release only by persons involved in the production of the statistics concerned or who need the data of the statistics concerned in their own work before the data are published.

Further information: Publication principles for statistics

Unless otherwise separately stated in connection with the product, data or service concerned, Statistics Finland is the producer of the data and the owner of the copyright. The terms of use for statistical data

Statistical experts

Mika Witting
Senior Statistician
029 551 3032

The documentation released before 5.4.2022 can be found on the archive pages of the statistics.

Go to the archive page