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2006 Census: Educational Portrait of Canada, 2006 Census: Highlights

  • Six out of every 10 adults aged between 25 and 64 had completed some form of postsecondary education in 2006 according to data from the census.
  • Just under one-quarter (24%) of the adults aged 25 to 64 had a high school diploma as their highest level of educational attainment, while 15% had less than a high school education.
  • The number of university graduates increased 24% since 2001.
  • In 2006, Canada ranked sixth among all Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries in terms of the proportion of the adults aged 25 to 64 who had a university degree. In the case where university and college are combined, however, no other OECD nation had a higher proportion than Canada.
  • Young adults had a higher level of educational attainment than their older counterparts. About 29% of young adults aged 25 to 34 had a university degree in 2006, well above the proportion of 18% among adults aged 55 to 64.
  • Fewer young adults were studying in trades than their parents. About 10% of young adults aged 25 to 34 had a trade certification in 2006, compared with 13% of the older adults aged between 55 and 64.
  • Young adults were also choosing to study different trades than older generations. For example, there were 25,800 fewer 25 to 34 year-olds than 55 to 64 year-olds who had a trades certificate in Mechanic and Repair Technologies/Technicians. On the other hand, there were 12,500 more young people who had a trades certificate in Personal and Culinary Services than the older generation.
  • A much higher percentage of women than men aged between 25 and 34, 33% vs 25%, had a university degree. These percentages were both higher than those observed for older adults aged between 55 and 64, where 16% of women and 21% of men had a university degree.
  • In 2006, one out of every five postsecondary graduates aged 25 to 64 had studied Business, Management, Marketing and Related Support Services, according to the census.
  • Over half (51%) of recent immigrants, those who had immigrated to Canada between 2001 and 2006, had a university degree. This was more than twice the proportion of degree holders among the Canadian-born population (20%) and also much higher than the proportion of 28% among immigrants who arrived before 2001.
  • Highly educated Canadians were more mobile. Adults aged between 25 and 64 who had a university degree accounted for 23% of this population, and for 33% of the people who moved to another province or territory between 2001 and 2006.
  • Alberta was the prime beneficiary of interprovincial migration among highly educated adults. Overall, Alberta had the biggest net inflow of postsecondary graduates while Ontario recorded the biggest net outflows.

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