As expected, the countries with the highest number of individuals educated beyond high school (or the equivalent of it) are also the countries that spend the most money on education. These countries experienced a rise in the number of college attendees since the recession, and have the highest number of individuals with a tertiary education.
Fifty-one percent of Canadian residents have some form of educational credentials beyond high school. That rate grew 2.4% between 2000 and 2010. Canada is the sole nation that can boast having more than 50% of its residents earning a higher education. Surprisingly, Canada is not a world leader in educational spending, with funds dedicated to schools equaling just around 6% of gross domestic product.
Forty-six percent of Israeli residents have earned a tertiary education. The country boasts other educational highs, with a high school education rate of 92%, and new legislation that made preschool free as of 2012. The country spends 7.2% of GDP on educational funding.
Forty-five percent of those living in Japan have education beyond high school. This rate grew by 2.9% between 2000 and 2010. Japan’s high college attendance rate is helped by its remarkably high high school graduation rate of 96% – the second highest in the world. However, college graduates in Japan have a particular hard time finding work, with 15% of 2012 graduates leaving school without a job.
Forty-two percent of U.S. residents achieve an education beyond high school, making the U.S. one of a handful of nations where more than 40% of the population receives a tertiary education. However, college graduation rate is only around 77%, which is below the international average. That being said, the U.S. is one of the highest spenders on education.
Forty-one percent of New Zealand’s population achieves a tertiary education. The small country experienced a 13.2% population growth between 2000 and 2010, and its education system experienced a similar growth. The number of individuals with a college education increased from 29% to 41% within that time.
Forty percent of South Koreans earn a tertiary education and personal spending on education is very high in South Korea. In 2009, only Iceland directed more funds towards education than South Korea. The unemployment rate for those with a post-high school degree is low, around 3%.
Thirty-eight percent of the U.K. population earns a post-high school education. The U.K. is also a popular college destination for students from all over the world, with international students making up 16% of most college enrollment. U.K. schools receive substantial private funding. Funds from private sources increased from 14.1% in 2000 to 31.1% in 2009.
Thirty-eight percent of Finland’s population receives a post-high school education. Finland spends more public funds on education than any other nation, with 97.6% of the 6.4% GDP spent on education programs coming from public sources. Finnish job seekers with college degrees are twice as likely to become employed as those without.
Thirty-eight percent of Australia’s population achieves a tertiary education, and Australia— like the U.K. — is a popular college destination for international students with 21.2% making up college enrollments. Unemployment rates are very low for those with college degrees, at just around 2%.
Thirty-seven percent of Ireland’s population earns a post-high school degree, and that represents a figure that almost doubled between 2000 and 2010. High school graduation rates also rose drastically during that time, from 74% to 94%. Particularly for men, having a tertiary degree is crucial to the job search, with 6.3% of males with college degrees facing unemployment, compared to the national average of 15.2%.
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