Some 69% of the 25 to 64 year olds lived in a census metropolitan area in 2006, according to the census. These large urban areas accounted for 83% of the Canadian population having a university degree and only 59% of those having a trades certificate.
The proportion of adults aged 25 to 64 with a university degree surpassed the national average of 23% in 16 of the 33 census metropolitan areas. About 35% of the population of Ottawa - Gatineau in this age group had a university degree, the highest proportion of all census metropolitan areas. It was followed by Toronto, where university graduates represented 34% of the population, and Calgary and Vancouver, both at 31%.
Conversely, the proportion with a trades certificate exceeded the national average in only eight census metropolitan areas: Saguenay, Trois-Rivières, Sherbrooke, Québec, Kelowna, Montréal, Abbotsford and Edmonton.
The proportion of the adult population with a college diploma tended to be above the national average in the smaller census metropolitan areas, and below the national average in the larger census metropolitan areas.
The proportion of the adult population which did not have a high school diploma was higher than the national average in only three census metropolitan areas: Greater Sudbury / Grand Sudbury, Abbotsford and Brantford.