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Data source: Federal Statistical Office

Geographical Area: Germany

Note: Due to comprehensive redesign of the microcensus it is not possible to compare the data of the survey year 2020 with previous years (break in time series).

This table includes additional information to the above visualized indicators, i.e. a short definition of this indicator and a description of the politically determined target values as well as explaining the political intention behind selecting this indicator.


The indicator specifies the proportion of 30 to 34-year-olds who hold a certificate from the tertiary education sector (levels 5 to 8 of the International Standard Classification of Education, ISCED, 2011) or a postsecondary non-tertiary certificate (level 4 of the ISCED).

Target and intention

Developed economies like Germany’s, in which the service sector and the demand for knowledge and expertise are becoming increasingly important, requires highly qualified workers. According to the updated national sustainable development goals, 55 % of 30 to 34-year-olds are to possess a tertiary or other post-secondary qualification by 2030.

Data status

The data published in the indicator report 2022 is as of 31 October 2022. The data shown on this platform is updated regularly, so that more current data may be available online than published in the indicator report 2022.

Text from the Indicator Report 2022 

The name of the indicator is linked to the tradition of the dual education system in Germany. In addition to tertiary degrees from universities, universities of applied sciences, colleges of public administration, vocational and specialised academies as well as master craftsmen’s and technicians’ certificates, there are post-secondary non-tertiary degrees at upper secondary level which are obtained in parallel or consecutively. These include, for example, the “Abitur” (higher education entrance qualification) at evening schools or at two-year full-time vocational schools, the completion of vocational training after the “Abitur” or a previous vocational training.

The “International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED)” enables international comparisons of statistics and indicators regarding certificates of education. Certificates that are regarded as equivalent are assigned to the same ISCED levels. Therefore, the indicator includes both the tertiary degrees corresponding to levels 5 to 8 of the ISCED as well as the post-secondary non-tertiary degrees corresponding to level 4 of the ISCED.

The data for the indicator originate from the microcensus, whose annual sample survey covers 1 % of the population. The statistics of higher education provides supplementary information and is also compiled by the Federal Statistical Office.

Starting at 33.4 % in 1999, the indicator increased by 19.9 percentage points to 53.2 % in 2021. If the average growth rate of the last five reference years is maintained, the target value of 55 % could be achieved considerably earlier than 2030. The relation between the gender-specific percentages has changed over time. In 1999, the indicator for men was 3.8 percentage points higher than for women. In 2006, the values were the same for both sexes. Since 2007, the percentage of women with a tertiary or post-secondary non-tertiary qualification has been higher than that of men and exceeded the target value for 2030 already in year 2021 (57.2 %), while the proportion of men, which was 49.6 % in 2021, would reach the target a good bit later.

Many other countries do not offer post-secondary non-tertiary education programmes. Therefore, the European version of the indicator from the “Europe 2020” strategy is more narrowly defined and takes only tertiary degrees (ISCED levels 5-8) into account.

Following a steady increase since 2005, the European indicator reached a total of 41.6 % across the EU-27 states in 2021. If one also uses this more narrowly defined indicator for Germany, the value of 37.8 % obtained for 2021 was more than 3.8 percentage points below the EU value. Furthermore, in 2021, the proportion of women (38.6 %) was higher than that of men (37.0 %).

The number of university graduates in Germany totalled 517,944 in 2021. This was more than twice as many as in 1999. These included 129,488 engineering graduates (three times as much than in 1999) and 54,928 graduates of mathematics and the natural sciences (68.8 % more than in 1999).

The synoptic table provides information about the evaluation of the indicator in previous years. It shows if the weather symbol assigned to an indicator was rather stable or volatile in the past years. (Evaluation of the Indicator Report 2022 )


4.1.b Persons with an academic or higher vocational qualification (30 to 34-year-olds with a tertiary or post-secondary non-tertiary level of education)


Increase the proportion to 55 % by 2030






Evaluation <p>Sonne</p>