This bulletin looks at the topic summary data from the 2021 Census for England and Wales for education. The data was published on 10 January 2023 by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). It provides unrounded population estimates at North Wales and unitary authority level.
It covers estimates of the percentage of the population aged 16 or over who have obtained academic, vocational, or professional qualifications, as well as the number of schoolchildren and full-time students.
- Between 2011 and 2021 all unitary authority areas in North Wales saw a significant improvement in qualification levels, and a corresponding decrease in the number and percentage of people with no qualifications. This is mirrored in other data sets which monitor qualification levels (for example the Annual Population Survey).
- Across North Wales as a whole the proportion of people who reported their highest qualification at level 4 or above on census day 2021 (for example Higher National Certificate, Higher National Diploma, Bachelor’s degree and postgraduate qualifications) was below the national average. For North Wales this was 31.1% or 176,740 people, whilst Wales was 31.5% and England and Wales was 33.8%. The proportion was highest in Gwynedd at 34.5% and lowest in Wrexham at 29.1%.
- Part of the difference compared to the Welsh average is explained by the proportion of apprenticeships as highest level of qualification in North Wales. This was greater than national averages at 6.3% or 35,791 people compared to 5.6% across Wales and 5.3% for England and Wales.
- Flintshire and the Isle of Anglesey had the greatest proportion of people in Wales who gave their highest qualification as apprenticeship (6.6%).
- 18.7% (106,341) of usual residents aged 16 or over had no qualifications. This was lower than the Welsh average. (Wales = 19.9% and England and Wales = 18.2%). The proportion was highest in Wrexham at 20.9% and lowest in Gwynedd at 16.3%.
- In 2021, there were 121,157 schoolchildren and students in full-time education (aged 5 years and over) in North Wales. This represents 18.5% of usual residents aged 5 and over. The proportion was 19.9% for Wales and 20.4% for England and Wales as a whole.
- Across North Wales the proportion of schoolchildren and students was highest in Gwynedd (21.4%) and lowest in Conwy County Borough (16.6%). The proportion of schoolchildren and students in the population will be affected by the location of higher education establishments and the overall age structure of the area (an older age structure/fewer young people in the population is likely to mean fewer students).
- 2021 Census: first results
- 2021 Census: demography & migration
- 2021 Census: UK armed forces veterans
- 2021 Census: ethnic group
- 2021 Census: religion
- 2021 Census: main language
- 2021 Census: sexual orientation and gender identity
The ONS has also published Education: Census 2021 in England and Wales which includes some data down to output area.
North Wales Regional Innovation Coordination Hub
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