On 26 April, Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, published the latest data for the EU and its Member States on the achievement of the targets for higher education in the framework of the “Europe 2020” strategy.

The European target for higher education is that at least 40% of 30-34-year-olds in the EU should have completed tertiary education by 2020. The EU already crossed this threshold in 2018 with a level of 40,7%. Since 2002, when the series started at 23,6%, there has been a steady increase. This growth pattern was even more significant for women (from 24,5% in 2002 to 45,8% in 2018) than for men (from 22,6% to 35,7%), meaning that women are above and men still below the overall Europe 2020 target.

The highest share of those aged 30-34 with higher education is in Lithuania (57,6%) and Cyprus (57,1%), while the lowest is in Romania (24,6%) and Italy (27,8%). According to Eurostat data, Germany ranks only 20 out of the 28 EU Member States with 34,9% of 30-34 year olds with a higher education degree. However, this relatively low percentage is due to the fact that education sectors that in some countries count as tertiary education, fall under vocational education and training (VET) in Germany and are therefore not taken into account.

To the Eurostat press release