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Canada. Women hold a Higher Share of University Degrees among Younger Graduates

New data from the National Household Survey (NHS) show that 11,782,700 adults aged 25 to 64 had postsecondary qualifications in 2011, representing almost two-thirds (64.1%) of the total population aged 25 to 64.

In comparison, the 2006 Census indicated that 60.7% of Canadians aged 25 to 64 had a postsecondary qualification.

Women held a higher share of university degrees among younger graduates than among older ones

In 2011, women accounted for 59.1% of young adults aged 25 to 34 with a university degree. This was higher than the 47.3% share they represented among older university degree holders aged 55 to 64.

Among all university degree holders, the difference between the share of younger and older women was the largest for those with a medical degree. Women represented about two-thirds (62.2%) of adults aged 25 to 34 with a medical degree, compared with just over one-quarter (28.0%) among adults aged 55 to 64 with a medical degree.

Nearly half (47.3%) of adults aged 25 to 34 with an earned doctorate were women, whereas this share was about one-third (31.6%) in the older age group (55 to 64). This was the only university degree held mostly by men among younger graduates.

Most Registered Apprenticeship certificates were held by men
At the trades level, about 8 in 10 Registered Apprenticeship certificates were held by men.

Men accounted for over three-quarters (78.9%) of Registered Apprenticeship certificate holders aged 25 to 34. This proportion was virtually the same as the proportion of men among those aged 55 to 64 (80.1%). Registered Apprenticeship certificate holders include, for example, electricians and plumbers.

Among the three postsecondary credentials, trades certificate was the only one held by a lower proportion of younger adults compared with older adults.

In 2011, 10.7% of adults aged 25 to 34 had a trades certificate compared with 12.8% among adults aged 55 to 64. On the other hand, a higher proportion of adults aged 25 to 34 had a university degree (31.9%) compared with adults aged 55 to 64 with the same credentials (20.2%). The proportion of college graduates was also higher at 22.1% among younger adults compared with 18.3% among older ones.

Women held a higher share of university STEM degrees among younger graduates than among older ones, but men still held the majority

STEM fields of study include 'science and technology,' 'engineering and engineering technology' and 'mathematics and computer sciences.'

In 2011, men represented the majority (67.4%) of adults aged 25 to 64 with STEM degrees at the university level. In comparison, among adults with a non-STEM university degree, 6 in 10 (60.6%) were women.

While women overall represented just under one-third (32.6%) of adults aged 25 to 64 with a university STEM degree, younger women had a larger share of university STEM degrees compared with older women. Young women aged 25 to 34 represented 39.1% of university STEM degrees in that age group, higher than the share of 22.6% in the older age group of 55 to 64. In non-STEM fields, younger women's share of university degree holders was 65.7% compared with older women's share of 53.6%.

In the STEM fields of 'science and technology,' younger women held the majority (58.6%) of university degrees compared with the share of 34.9% held by older women. Younger women also had a larger share (23.1%) of university degrees in 'engineering and engineering technology' compared with women's share in the older age group (8.5%). In 'mathematics and computer sciences,' the shares held by women were similar in the younger and older age groups at 30.4% and 29.3% respectively.

Immigrants held about half of the STEM university degrees
In 2011, immigrant adults aged 25 to 64 represented just under one-quarter (24.6%) of Canada's total adult population but over one-third (34.3%) of adults with a university degree. About half (50.9%) of all STEM degrees were held by immigrants, including those who have lived in Canada for many years, as well as newcomers.

Just over two-fifths of doctorate degrees were earned outside of Canada

The majority (73.8%) of Canada's 11.8 million adults aged 25 to 64 with a postsecondary qualification had studied in the province or territory in which they lived in 2011, while 9.9% had studied in another province or territory, and 16.3% studied in another country. Among those who studied in another country, 83.6% were immigrants and 7.5% were non-permanent residents.

Just over two-fifths (41.9%) of doctorate degree holders completed their credential in another country compared with 33.8% of those with a master's degree and 21.0% with a bachelor's degree.

Trades certificate holders were the most likely to have studied in their province or territory of residence (86.4%), a higher proportion than among college diploma (82.5%) and university degree (62.3%) holders.

Almost half of Aboriginal people aged 25 to 64 had a postsecondary qualification

In 2011, nearly 671,400 adults aged 25 to 64 reported an Aboriginal identity on the NHS questionnaire, representing 3.7% of the total population aged 25 to 64.

Almost half (48.4%) of the Aboriginal population aged 25 to 64 had a postsecondary qualification in 2011. In comparison, almost two-thirds (64.7%) of the non-Aboriginal population aged 25 to 64 had a postsecondary qualification.

More than 4 in 10 First Nations people aged 25 to 64 (44.8%) had a postsecondary qualification. The proportion of First Nations people with a postsecondary qualification was higher among those without registered Indian status (52.1%) than among those with registered Indian status (42.3%).

Over half (54.8%) of Métis aged 25 to 64 had a postsecondary qualification.

More than one-third (35.6%) of Inuit aged 25 to 64 had a postsecondary qualification.

Younger Aboriginal people had higher levels of education than older ones

In 2011, among Aboriginal people aged 35 to 44, 68.0% had at least a high school diploma, compared with 58.7% among those aged 55 to 64.

Younger Aboriginal women were more likely to be university graduates than older Aboriginal women. The proportion of Aboriginal women aged 35 to 44 with a university degree in 2011 was 13.6%, compared with 10.2% of those aged 55 to 64. It was 7.6% for men in both age groups.

Younger Aboriginal women and men were both more likely to have college diplomas than older ones. Among Aboriginal women aged 35 to 44, 27.1% had a college diploma in 2011, compared with 21.4% of those aged 55 to 64. With a proportion of 18.3%, Aboriginal men aged 35 to 44 were also more likely to have college diplomas than those aged 55 to 64 where the proportion was 14.1%.

© Statistics Canada -


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