Issue 17-158: 2016 Census: Highlights from the Education in Canada Release

November 29, 2017

Statistics Canada released the last set of Census results on November 29, 2017. This release focuses on key statistics about education for the 2016 Census of Population.

Education in B.C.

Educational attainment has gone up in British Columbia since 2006. In 2016, 88.1% of people aged 25 to 64 had a high school diploma or equivalency certificate, compared with 84.3% in 2006.

The percentage of the population between 25 and 64 with post-secondary credentials has also gone up but the composition of education across levels has changed.

In 2016, 20.9% had a college, CEGEP or other non-university certificate or diploma as their highest level of education, greater than the 19.6% observed in 2006. Business, management, marketing and related support services was the most popular field of study at this level of education, with 26.1% of degree holders, followed by health professions and related programs at 20.5%.

The percentage of the population with apprenticeships or trade certificates or diplomas (+9.1%) went down since 2006 (+11.9%), due to a reduction in the share of population with trade certificates or diplomas. Construction trades (+25.6%), mechanic and repair technologies and technicians (+19.9%), and personal and culinary services (+16.2%) were the most popular fields of study, with the largest shares of people with apprenticeship programs in those areas.

The percentage of population with a bachelor degree or higher saw the largest increase in the last decade, up 5.7 percentage points from 2006 to reach 29.9%. Most people at this level of education hold a degree in business, management, marketing and related support services (+18.2%) or health professions and related programs (+10.7%).

Immigrants, particularly recent immigrants (landed between 2011 and 2016) tend to have a higher level of educational attainment than the overall population. This may be due to the large percentage of economic immigrants that are generally required to have post-secondary qualifications. Around 5.7% of immigrants in British Columbia hold a trade or apprenticeship diploma, while 16.6% hold a CEGEP or other non-university certificate or diploma. Almost 4 in 10 immigrants hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, that proportion goes up to 1 in 2 for recent immigrants.

Educational attainment varies between sexes, with 15.2% of women aged 25 to 64 with a bachelor’s degree or higher in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), compared to a higher proportion (34.4%) of men.

Most of the people between 25 and 64 years old in British Columbia who hold an apprenticeship or trade (+78.3), CEGEP or other non‑university (+71.5%) certificate or diploma studied in their same province of residence, compared to less than half (+46.5%) of people with bachelor degrees or higher.

National Highlights

In 2016, 86.3% of Canadians aged 25 to 64 had a high school diploma or equivalency certificate, up from 81.3% in 2006.

Approximately 10.8% of Canadians had an apprenticeship or other trades certificate, most commonly in construction trades, and mechanic and repair technologies and technicians.

The percentage of Canadians between 25 and 64 years of age with a college, CEGEP or other non-university certificate or diploma as their highest level of education rose from 20.4% to 22.4% between 2006 and 2016. Finally, approximately 28.5% of Canadians in that age group held a bachelors degree of higher, up from 23.0% in 2006. Business, management, marketing and related support services (+19.4%), education (+11.1%) and engineering (+10.3%) were the most popular fields of study for people with bachelor’s degrees.

Around 6.4% of immigrants hold a trade or apprenticeship diploma, while 17.6% hold a CEGEP or other non-university certificate or diploma. Similar to British Columbia, almost 4 in 10 immigrants hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, that proportion goes up to more than half for recent immigrants.

In Canada, 15.5% of women aged 25 to 64 with a bachelor’s degree or higher studied STEM fields, compared with 36.1% of men.

The vast majority of Canadians between 25 and 64 years old who hold an apprenticeship or trade (+87.5), CEGEP or other non‑university (+82.4%) certificate or diploma studied in their same province of residence, compared to 60.2% of people with bachelor degrees or higher.

Data Source: Statistics Canada, Census 2016.