Data Cart

Your data extract

0 variables
0 samples
View Cart
Educational attainment, Ireland

Codes and Frequencies

Can't find the category you are looking for? Try the Detailed codes


EDUCIE indicates the person's educational attainment in Ireland in terms of the level of schooling completed.

Comparability — General

Ireland has a 6-3-3 education system, comprising 6 years in primary (in addition to two kindergarten years offered also at primary schools), 3 years in the junior cycle, and 2 or 3 years in the senior cycle. Secondary schools combine both general and vocational types. Students take the Junior Certificate Examination at the end of the junior cycle and the Leaving Certificate Examination at the end of the senior cycle. Tertiary education includes primary degrees, professional qualifications, and post-graduate degrees offered at universities, the technological sector, colleges of education, and private colleges. Completion of a bachelor degree entails between 3 to 4 years of studies. Post-secondary non-university education includes post leaving certificate courses, among other options.

The variable is comparable between Ireland 1971 and 1981 censuses and between Ireland 1991-2011 censuses, but less comparable across groups. The universe for Ireland 1971 census is persons age 14 or older who ceased education, for 1981 and 1991 censuses is persons age 15 or older who ceased education, for 1996 census is persons age 15 or older, and for 2002, 2006, and 2011 censuses is present persons age 15 or older. The universe for the sample 1996 should be comparable to the more recent censuses given that usual residents that were absent at the time of census were not enumerated.

Ireland 1971 and 1981 only consider full time education, while other census years consider full and part time education. As an exception, Ireland 1991 considers both full and part time education, but not for a person working who is also attending a technical school or university part-time.

Information on educational attainment is derived from number of years completed at a certain education level for the 1971 and 1981 censuses and from education level completed for other census years. In 1971 and 1981 information on the type of school attended is collected regardless of whether or not certificates or qualifications were obtained. Thus, it is not possible to impose a cutoff point for minimum number of years for completion of a certain level and all education levels are identified as at least partial completion (i.e. some secondary, some vocational, and some tertiary). For these samples, vocational education seems to include post-secondary non-university options (vocational, technical, or commercial programs), but may include vocational education at the secondary level.

In other census years the criterion for education completion is taking the terminal examination at the level for primary and secondary, while it is receiving a diploma, certificate or degree for tertiary. The primary education category includes persons with no formal education. Completing an apprenticeship is considered equivalent to upper secondary vocational. Persons taking post leaving certificate or secretarial/commercial courses are considered to have only upper secondary. Third level non-degree qualifications refer to persons who obtained a certificate/diploma not equivalent to a university degree and which required completion of upper secondary for entry. Third level degree or higher qualifications also include post-graduate studies.


  • Ireland 1971: Persons age 14+ who ceased education
  • Ireland 1981: Persons age 15+ who ceased education
  • Ireland 1991: Persons age 15+ who ceased education
  • Ireland 1996: Persons age 15+
  • Ireland 2002: Present persons age 15+
  • Ireland 2006: Present persons age 15+
  • Ireland 2011: Present persons age 15+


  • Ireland: 1971, 1981, 1991, 1996, 2002, 2006, 2011