Fewer students at levels above compulsory education
There were 41,519 students at levels above compulsory education in Iceland in the autumn of 2016, a decrease of 1,018 students from the previous year (2.4%). Fewer students were registered both at the upper secondary and tertiary levels of education. The number of women (22,763) was higher than the number of men (18,756). The number of men decreased by 293 from the previous year (-1.5%) and the number of women by 725 (-3.1%).

There were 22,564 students at the upper secondary level, a decrease of 2.3% from the previous year, and 18,111 students at the tertiary level as a whole, a decrease of 2.6% from the autumn of 2015. A total of 13,282 students were studying for a first tertiary degree, a decrease of 2.3%, and 4,125 students studying for a master’s degree, a decrease of 4.8%. A total of 469 students were at the doctoral level, a 0.9% increase between years.

More females than males in most fields of education at the tertiary level
Women outnumbered men in all fields of study at the tertiary level of education except in sciences, mathematics and computing as well as in the field of engineering, manufacturing and construction, where their share was smallest, 36.9% of students. The share of women was greatest in the field of health and welfare, 84.8% of students.

Fewer 16 year olds in education
A total of 94.7% of 16 year olds attended education above compulsory education in the autumn of 2016, a lower enrolment rate than in 2015 (95.4%). The enrolment rate for 16 year olds was lower for both genders, 94.3% for boys and 95.0% for girls. However, the enrolment rate in the autumn of 2016 was higher than in the autumn of 2015 for 17 to 19 year olds. On the other hand, fewer 20-26 year old students attended school than in the previous year.

The enrolment rate was higher for females than males in each age cohort from 16 to 29 years of age, with the exception of 20 year olds, and at the tertiary level from the age of 30. When looking only at the upper secondary level there were more male than female students aged 20 to 39.

The enrolment rate is lowest among immigrants
The enrolment rate of 16 and 18 year olds was lowest among immigrants, with 84.1% of 16 year olds and 53.7% of 18 year olds attending school in 2016. The enrolment rate of 16 year olds was highest among students with no foreign background, 96.4%. However, at the age of 18 the enrolment rate was highest among second generation immigrants, 100%.

Immigrants are those who were born abroad and have both parents of foreign origin. Exchange students, who stay in Iceland for one year, are included in the data for immigrants. Second generation immigrants are those who were born in Iceland of two immigrant parents. It should be noted that there are only between 27 and 50 second generation immigrants in these age groups, so each individual weighs heavily in the data.

Almost one out of every three students at the upper secondary level was enrolled in vocational programmes
Almost one out of every three students at the upper secondary level was enrolled in vocational programmes in the autumn of 2016, while 67.0% were enrolled in general programmes. The share of students in vocational programmes has not changed much during the last decade but was 36-38% in 2000-2005. The proportion of students in vocational education was higher among males, or 40.6%, and 25.1% for female students.

About the data
Information is gathered directly from the schools and from the computer programme INNA used by schools at the upper secondary level, and refers to the number of students in the middle of October each year. The enrolment rate is computed by classifying students by age and domicile each year and computing their proportion of the relevant age group. The data on the students’ origin come from a Statistics Iceland database on the population according to immigrant status.

Detailed statistics are available on the Statistics Iceland website.

    Upper secondary schools