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Published: 12 January 2018

Every second person aged 18 to 64 in adult education

In 2017, every second person aged 18 to 64, or 1.6 million, took part in adult education, that is, education or training arranged specifically for adults. The share of adults having taken part in adult education and training has fallen by four percentage points from 2012. This information derives from the preliminary data of Statistics Finland's Adult Education Survey for 2017.

Participation in adult education in 1980, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2006, 2012 and 2017 (population aged 18 to 64), %

Participation in adult education in 1980, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2006, 2012 and 2017 (population aged 18 to 64), %
NB The Adult Education Survey was not conducted in 1985.

Data for the Adult Education Survey were collected in January to June 2017 and data were obtained from 3,414 persons aged 18 to 69 permanently resident in Finland. The results are here examined concerning persons aged 18 to 64, because comparable data on them are available from previous survey rounds. The survey is implemented as a joint project of Statistics Finland and the Ministry of Education and Culture and part of the European Union’s Adult Education Survey. The data collection method has changed from previous surveys. For the first time, respondents were offered the possibility to fill in the form online in addition to face-to-face interviews.

Most of adult education was related to work or occupation

Most of adult education was professional, that is, the reason for participating in education and training was related to work or occupation (according to respondents’ own estimate). Such education was attended in 2017 by 1.2 million persons, that is, nearly one-half of the labour force (employed and unemployed persons).

The majority of education and training related to work or occupation was supported by employers, that is, so-called personnel training. In 2017, personnel training was received by one million wage and salary earners, 53 per cent of all wage and salary earners.

Every seventh adult studied not related to work

Nearly 390,000 persons aged 18 to 64 participated in adult education and training not related to work (excluding students and conscripts) in 2017. Women were clearly more interested in these general education or hobby-related studies than men.

Participation activity in education or training related to leisure or hobbies remained at the same level from 1990 to 2012. In 2017, four percentage points fewer than before participated in such training, 14 per cent of those aged 18 to 64.

Source: Participation in adult education 2017, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Helena Niemi 029 551 2488, Timo Ruuskanen 029 551 3620,

Director in charge: Jari Tarkoma

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Updated 12.1.2018

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Participation in adult education [e-publication].
ISSN=2489-6926. Participation in adult education 2017. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 28.11.2023].
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