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Educational attainment, Brazil

Codes and Frequencies

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EDUCBR usually indicates the person's educational attainment in Brazil in terms of the amount of schooling completed -- both the level (for example, primary, secondary, or higher education) and typically the number of years or grades completed at that level. For some classifications, the variable indicates the level or grade that the person is currently attending; all such classifications are explicitly indicated in the code labels for EDUCBR.

Comparability — General

In 1971 Brazil converted from a 4-4-3 educational system (4 years of primary school, 4 years of middle school or junior high school, and 3 years of secondary school) to an 8-3 system (8 primary, 3 secondary); in 2006 it changed to a 9-3 educational system (9 primary, 3 secondary). At the first digit, EDUCBR is organized around the 8-3 classification (primary vs. secondary). Within the primary category, subsequent digits are used to preserve the old system's distinction between primary and middle school. The adult primary and secondary levels (supletivo) are classified in the equivalent level/grade in primary or secondary.

In the 1960-2000 censuses, even though the most education response appear to fit within either the 4-4-3 (under the old system) or 8-3 (under the new system) pattern, a fair number of responses fall outside of these parameters: for example, persons indicating that they completed fifth grade primary under the old system, or persons indicating that they completed the fourth year of secondary school. Such responses are preserved in EDUCBR.

In the 1960 and 1970 censuses, respondents provided their level of education in terms of the highest grade completed. In subsequent censuses from 1980 to 2000, two sets of questions were used: one set was for persons currently attending school, who responded in terms of the grade currently attended; the other set was for persons no longer attending school, who responded in terms of the highest grade completed. In EDUCBR, responses for persons currently attending school are converted to a highest-grade-completed basis wherever possible: for example, a person currently attending third grade primary was coded in EDUCBR as having completed second grade primary. Note that when such conversions were made at the boundaries between levels, it was assumed that the person fell within the typical 4-4-3 or 8-3 system. For example, a person currently attending first year secondary under the old system would be coded as having completed eighth grade, even though such a person conceivably might have completed more than 8 years of combined primary and middle schooling.

In the 2010 census, information was also collected separately for persons currently attending school and persons no longer attending school. In EDUCBR, responses for persons currently attending school are also converted to a highest-grade-completed basis. However, the information on the specific grade is only registered for persons currently attending primary or secondary. Persons in higher education or that previously attended school do not report the specific grade or year within level. Those who attended primary in the past only report grades within pre-defined categories (1st to 3rd, 4th, or 5th to 8th grade). Furthermore, given the change in the education system in 2006, the census microdata coding structure for this sample applies some equivalences: 8th grade in the old system is equivalent to 9th year in the new system, 7th grade in the old system to 8th year in the new system, and so forth. The Brazil 2010 sample separately identifies masters and doctorate degrees (previously included as a single category) and post-graduate specialization degrees.

A harmonized international classification of educational attainment is available in EDATTAIN, which imposes a number of compromises to regularize the data across countries. EDUCBR retains the specific detail on educational attainment from the Brazilian samples.

The number of years of schooling completed is available separately in YRSCHOOL.


  • Brazil 1960: Persons age 5+
  • Brazil 1970: Persons age 5+
  • Brazil 1980: Persons age 5+
  • Brazil 1991: Persons age 5+
  • Brazil 2000: All persons
  • Brazil 2010: All persons


  • Brazil: 1960, 1970, 1980, 1991, 2000, 2010