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Australia

Highest level of schooling

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This topic has been updated with 2016 Census data for all areas. What's this?

In Australia, 52% of people aged over 15 years had completed Year 12 schooling (or equivalent) as of 2016.

Australia's school completion data is a useful indicator of socio-economic status. With other indicators, such as Proficiency in English, the data informs planners and decision-makers about people's ability to access services. Combined with Educational Qualifications it also allows assessment of the skill base of the population.

Derived from the Census question:

'What is the highest year of primary or secondary school the person has completed?'

Persons aged 15 years and over

Highest level of secondary schooling completed
Australia - Total persons (Usual residence)20162011Change
Level of schoolingNumber%Greater Capital Cities %Number%Greater Capital Cities %2011 to 2016
Year 8 or below913,8214.84.41,020,3235.95.3-106,502
Year 9 or equivalent1,063,2575.64.71,098,3506.35.2-35,093
Year 10 or equivalent3,649,44519.215.93,690,77021.318.0-41,325
Year 11 or equivalent1,724,9679.18.51,684,2149.79.3+40,753
Year 12 or equivalent9,879,96151.957.78,259,82847.653.1+1,620,133
Did not go to school164,6930.91.1142,4090.81.0+22,284
Not stated1,641,1598.67.71,465,2678.48.1+175,892

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing 2011 and 2016. Compiled and presented by .id , the population experts.

Highest level of schooling completed, 2016
Highest level of schooling completed, 2016 Did not go to school, Greater Capital Cities: 1.1% Year 12 or equivalent, Greater Capital Cities: 57.7% Year 11 or equivalent, Greater Capital Cities: 8.5% Year 10 or equivalent, Greater Capital Cities: 15.9% Year 9 or equivalent, Greater Capital Cities: 4.7% Year 8 or below, Greater Capital Cities: 4.4% Did not go to school, Australia: 0.9% Year 12 or equivalent, Australia: 51.9% Year 11 or equivalent, Australia: 9.1% Year 10 or equivalent, Australia: 19.2% Year 9 or equivalent, Australia: 5.6% Year 8 or below, Australia: 4.8%
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing, 2016 (Usual residence data)
Compiled and presented in profile.id by .id, the population experts.
Change in highest level of schooling completed, 2011 to 2016
Change in highest level of schooling completed, 2011 to 2016 Did not go to school, Australia: +22,284 Year 12 or equivalent, Australia: +1,620,133 Year 11 or equivalent, Australia: +40,753 Year 10 or equivalent, Australia: -41,325 Year 9 or equivalent, Australia: -35,093 Year 8 or below, Australia: -106,502
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing, 2011 and 2016 (Usual residence data)
Compiled and presented in profile.id by .id, the population experts.

Dominant groups

Analysis of the highest level of schooling attained by the population in Australia in 2016 compared to Greater Capital Cities shows that there was a higher proportion of people who had left school at an early level (Year 10 or less) and a lower proportion of people who completed Year 12 or equivalent.

Overall, 30.4% of the population left school at Year 10 or below, and 51.9% went on to complete Year 12 or equivalent, compared with 26.1% and 57.7% respectively for Greater Capital Cities.

The major differences between the level of schooling attained by the population in Australia and Greater Capital Cities were:

  • A larger percentage of persons who completed year 10 or equivalent (19.2% compared to 15.9%)
  • A smaller percentage of persons who completed year 12 or equivalent (51.9% compared to 57.7%)

Emerging groups

The largest changes in the level of schooling attained by the population in Australia, between 2011 and 2016 were:

  • Year 12 or equivalent (+1,620,133 persons)
  • Year 8 or below (-106,502 persons)
  • Year 10 or equivalent (-41,325 persons)
  • Year 11 or equivalent (+40,753 persons)

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