Friday, March 13, 2009

Average years of schooling


I am wondering if there is an easy answer to this question of “average age of schooling for Canadians”. Although not conveyed in the email from the Grad student, the key to this request (communicated during a phone chat) is the desire to have annual data on this topic, back to the 1970’s. Also, if possible, to have the data by province. The student adds via email:

Pertaining to our discussion yesterday, the data that I'm looking for is this:
What is the average years of schooling for Canadians?
By schooling, I mean elementary, high school (secondary), and university or an accredited/recognized post-secondary educational institution.

So for example, I have:
elementary through high school so that's 12 years
my bachelor's degree so that's 5 years
one master's degree so that 2 years
my second master's degrees (in progress) 2 years.
total years of schooling is 12 + 5 + 2 + 2 = 21 years.

The data can be aggregated to all Canadians.

Thanks for any help. We have looked at the Labour Force Survey (educational attainment) via SDA, but there appears to be no simple (single) answer for the question asked, in terms of annual data for “average years” of schooling for Canadians.


Here is a summary of what the author divisions have told me about the years of schooling variable:

- census data for this variable is not available for 2006 due to changes in the questionnaire. This matches some information I found on the following page of the Statcan site (scroll down to the heading "Modified Questions - Education)": This means they cannot provide a custom tabulation for 2006 on years of schooling

- total years of schooling is available for census years between 1971 and 2001 as a custom tabulation. Note that the population for 1976 was 1/3 sample and 1971 1/3 sample. Here is the link to the 2001 Census Dictionary stating the comparability years for total years of schooling:

- LFS has only annual data on "educational attainment" starting in 1990. They suggested that you check the CANSIM table 282-0004 to see if it would correspond to your needs.

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