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Recent generations better educated

Nearly half of those born in the 1930s left education after primary school, compared with 3 per cent of those born in the 1970s, according to the 2002 Census of Population. Nearly one third of the younger generation were educated to third level compared with 12 per cent of the 1930s generation. This information is contained in Census 2002 Volume 7 – Education and Qualifications, which gives further detailed results of the census conducted on 28 April 2002. The report gives the final population figures classified by highest level of education completed, age at which full-time education ceased and third level qualifications held for detailed territorial divisions in the country (see Editor’s note).


Student numbers rising

The number of students aged 15 years and over increased by 3.3 per cent from 340,000 in 1996 to 350,000 in 2002. Over 26 per cent of persons aged 20-24 were in full-time education in 2002 compared with 21 per cent in 1996.


More educated population

The proportion of the population aged 15 years and over who completed their education with a third level qualification rose from 19 per cent in 1996 to almost 25 per cent in 2002. The corresponding percentages for those in the labour force were 25 per cent and 30 per cent, respectively.

In 2002, Maynooth (44%) had the highest proportion of third level graduates among the population aged 15 years and over who had completed their education. Next highest was Malahide (43%), followed by Oranmore (40%) and Greystones (40%).

Urban areas (29%) had a higher proportion of graduates than rural areas (19%).


Educational attainment lowest for farmers and building workers

34 per cent of farming, fishing and forestry workers and 27 per cent of textile, clothing and leather workers were educated to primary level only according to the 2002 census. By way of contrast, 91 per cent of teachers were educated to third level compared with 85 per cent for those in religious occupations and 79 per cent of persons in scientific and technical occupations.


Social sciences/business/law most popular branch of study

The most popular branch of study was social sciences/business/law (17.2%) followed by medicine/dentistry/nursing/social services (12.1%). More than one in eight graduates held qualifications in more than one discipline. Engineering/architecture was the most prominent branch of study among male graduates while medicine/dentistry/nursing/social services pre-dominated among women. Male graduates in computing and information technology outnumbered females by 7,500 (24,000 males to 16,500 females).


Editor’s note

The publication Census 2002 - Principal Socio-economic Results, released on 15 October 2003, contains a summary at State level of data from Volumes 5 - 7, 9 - 10 and 13 of the detailed census reports. The publication released today, Volume 7, provides figures for education and qualifications at a more detailed geographical level.

All published tables from Census 2002 are being made available on the CSO web site (Census 2002 Volume 7 - Education and Qualifications). Tables at Electoral Division, Local Electoral Area and small town level are being made available exclusively on the CSO web site.


For copies of the publication contact:

Central Statistics Office, Information Section, Skehard Road, Cork
Government Publications Sales Office, Sun Alliance House, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2.
Price: € 15.00
Copies can also be downloaded from the CSO website (see below).


For further information contact:

Central Statistics Office, Ardee Road, Rathmines, Dublin 6.
Census Inquiries (01) 498 4000 ext. 4284-4288.
Fax (01) 498 4268


15 January 2004

- ENDS -

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