Latest census figures reveal that women in Ireland are better educated than men, as 43.2 percent of women aged 15 and over received third-level education in 2016 compared with 40.7 percent of men.
Census figures released last month by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) showed that 42 percent (1,216,945) of the population aged 15 and over had a third level qualification, compared with just 13.6 percent in 1991.
“This report shows a continuing decline in the numbers of early school leavers and increases in the numbers with third level qualifications,” said Deirdre Cullen, senior statistician with the Central Statistics Office.
Broken down to age groups, out of those aged between 15 and 39, 56.2 percent of them had a third-level qualification, compared to 18.9 percent of those aged 65 and over.
The counties with the highest rates of completed third-level education were Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown with 61.1 percent, Galway City with 55.2 percent and Dublin City and Fingal, both with 48.7 percent. The counties with the lowest rates were Longford and Wexford, at 32.5 percent.
The figures also show that for people aged twenty, those with parents with higher levels of education were more likely to still be in education. In all, 60.6 percent of all 20-year olds in family units were students in 2016.
And among those whose parents were educated to a maximum of lower secondary level, 44.9 percent were full-time students, increasing to 65.2 percent for those with both parents educated to upper secondary level. For those 20-year olds with both parents having a degree, 87.5 percent were full-time students.
The figures also showed that those with a qualification in Arts had the highest unemployment rate in 2016, at 11.6 percent (down from 17.1 percent in 2011).
Between 2011 and 2016 the unemployment rate fell the most for those with a qualification in Engineering, Manufacturing and Construction, from 15.7 percent to 6 percent. Those with a qualification in Education had the lowest unemployment rate in 2016 at 3.1 percent.
Although more women had third-level education, more men (16,016) had a doctorate (Ph.D.) than women (12,743). The 28,759 people who stated that they had a doctorate level qualification was an increase of 30.9 percent on the 2011 figure, and up 99.5 percent on 2006. There were 23,296 persons at work among this group, while the unemployment rate was 3.4 percent.
By Hajar Akl