Around 36,900 inhabitants in Iceland aged 25-64 took part in lifelong learning in 2020, 19.4% of the population in this age group. The participation has decreased somewhat from the previous year when 20.8% of the population took part. Participation in lifelong learning has decreased most years since 2015 when 27.3% of the population aged 25-64 participated in lifelong learning.

More 25-64 year olds attended school in 2020 than in previous years, or 21,600 compared with 18,800 in the previous year. The number of participants in courses dropped from 12,400 to 11,500 from the previous year and in other learning with an instructor (e.g. conferences) from 11,800 to 8,000. It is assumed that the Covid-19 pandemic influenced these numbers, as some conferences and courses were cancelled in 2020.

Participation was greatest among those with tertiary education
Participation in lifelong learning was greatest among those with tertiary education, but 26% of those aged 25-64 participated in lifelong learning in 2020. The proportion was lower among those who had completed upper secondary education, 17.6%, and lowest among those who had solely completed basic education, just over 11%.

More women aged 25-64 than men participated in lifelong learning, or 21,100 compared with 15,800, respectively.

The majority of participants in lifelong learning were employed
A large majority of participants in lifelong learning were employed, 29,200 persons. When looking at percentages it can be observed that 18.9% of those 25-64 year olds who were employed took part in lifelong learning, 20.3% of the unemployed and 22.0% of those who were not in the labour force. Formal school education is included in lifelong learning, but many of the younger ones, who are not in the labour force, are students.

About the data
The data are obtained from the Statistics Iceland Labour Force Survey. The Labour Force Survey is a European survey based on international definitions and standards. The sample frame includes all inhabitants aged 16–74 with domicile and residence in Iceland. The total sample size in 2020 was 20,260. When those who had passed away and those who were living abroad had been deducted from the sample the net sample was 19,798 persons. The total number of usable answers was 12,895 which corresponds to a 65.1% response rate.

New weights and methods to estimate the population in the Labour Force Survey were adopted in 2021, and these are the first numbers on lifelong learning that use the new weights. At the same time, the time series were revised using the new weights. All results from the survey have been weighted by age and sex using the National Population Register.

Lifelong learning includes all types of education that a person attends, both formal education in school and education out of school, such as a course, lecture or a conference. The same individual can both take part in a course, in other education or training and attend school, but each individual is only counted once in the totals.