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The 10 Most Educated Countries in the World



The most educated countries in the world are likely to have high percentages of citizens with college and graduate degrees, according to Statista, which recently published its list of the ten most educated countries in the world. Statista analyzed data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to determine which nations have the highest percentage of citizens with college and graduate degrees. See if your country made a list!


Despite being the least populous country on our list, Finland consistently ranks among the highest quality of life. A recent study showed that more than 80% of adults aged 25 to 64 had earned the equivalent of a high school degree. The Finnish government actively encourages higher education by providing free or low-cost tuition at all public universities. That’s how they do it! Long live liberal government spending!


Though its youth literacy rate has recently slipped, Japan is still the most educated country on Earth. Data shows that 92% of Japanese citizens ages 25-34 have a high school diploma, with 50% having college degrees. This is the perfect example of how education can affect national economic strength. It’s no wonder Japan is one of the most prosperous countries on Earth!

South Korea

In the early 1970s, only one out of every 100 South Koreans had a college degree. However, in recent years, the country has made sweeping efforts to expand its higher education system. Its government increased funding for institutions and imposed policies that made it easier for students to attend school full-time. The number of Koreans with college degrees exploded: by 2009, almost one out of every three South Koreans held a bachelor’s degree or higher.


Overall, the most educated country is Canada, with 47.9 percent of its population holding at least a bachelor’s degree. While many Americans might not know that Canada ranks as the most educated country, the United States comes fourth, with 31.6 percent of citizens holding a bachelor’s degree or higher.


United States

The United States is well-known for its stellar university system. But compared to other OECD countries, it’s middle-of-the-pack. According to a report from Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, less than 40 percent of Americans 25 or older have attained a bachelor’s degree or higher. It’d land them at number 15 out of 34 OECD countries at that rate.


With one of the highest average years of schooling, the country has topped a U.N. list of countries with the most educated populations. Australia is followed by Canada, Ireland, Japan, Korea, and the United States at No. 5 on the list produced by U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to coincide with International Literacy Day on Sept 8th. Finland is ranked No 1 for best education systems according to OECD’s PISA rankings 2011


In recent years, China has overtaken Japan as having more highly educated adults than any other country. While a whopping 23% of people living in China have received tertiary education, only 18% of adults in Japan are considered highly educated. Tertiary education is understood to mean an education at a college or university level. It does not include academic secondary education or vocational education, which could account for some of the differences between those countries with very high rates of tertiary-educated adults


According to a study from The Globalist, Russia tops Forbes’ list of most educated countries. On average, 47% of Russian adults have an associate degree or higher. Russia’s economy relies heavily on oil and natural gas production, so, surprisingly, high school and college graduates outnumber those who did not finish high school by nearly 4-to-1.


Following a Japanese occupation that lasted 50 years, Taiwan has emerged as one of East Asia’s most prosperous countries. It consistently ranks among the most accessible places on Earth, according to Reporters Without Borders. Part of its freedom can be attributed to its government spending about 4% of GDP on education—which is more than double what many other developed countries do.




If you’re looking for a country with a high rate of literacy, it’s hard to do better than Ireland. This small island nation boasts a 99% adult literacy rate—which is one of the highest rates in all of Europe and one of the highest in all of the world, period. Plus, some 84% of Irish citizens hold at least an undergraduate degree, making Ireland home to one of the most highly educated populaces on Earth.

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