What are the Most Educated Countries in the World?

More and more people around the globe are attending college nowadays. According to a UNESCO report, the number of students enrolling in higher education institutions more than doubled in recent years. The number increased from 100 million in 2000 to 207 million in 2014. But not every country contributed to the rise of higher education in the world.

Surveys have been conducted to find the most educated countries around the globe. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) made a list of the most educated countries based on the number of adults that have received tertiary education, whether it’s a two-year or four-year degree or a vocational program.

Generally, more developed nations have adults who are literate and have at least a primary high school education.  Most of them realize “If I write my paper today, tomorrow I’ll have more skills.” In less developed and undeveloped nations, the quality of education is poor, and many do not have access to education at all. A country’s wealth seems to be proportionate to the number of educated adults. The most educated countries have advanced, high-income economies, because their people can receive tertiary education, which in turn gives them leverage in the professional world, giving them an edge for financial success.

Based on this survey, the top 10 countries with the most highly educated populations are:


Canada tops the list as the most educated country in the world, with56.27% of its adult population having earned higher education. Degrees in business administration, engineering, finance, and management sciences are among the top choices for its students.

The major cities in Canada, such as Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Quebec City, and the capital Ottawa are homes to the most prestigious universities in the country. The government places high importance on education.


Known as one of the most advanced countries in the world, Japan lies at No. 2 in the world’s most educated countries. This East Asian nation blends ancient traditions with aspects of contemporary Western life. Japan is also well-known for its intense work ethic, which stems from a high level of educational attainment from its citizens.

A bit over half of the adult population (50.5%) in Japan has reached tertiary levels of education. Its capital city Tokyo is home to hundreds of universities and colleges, one of which is the University of Tokyo.


Israel is the source of many of the world’s technological advances, startups, high-tech equipment, and pharmaceuticals. Obviously, these things that drive up Israel’s economy are due to a high level of education in the country. Israel is highly developed when it comes to education, as 49.9% of its population are educated adults.

The country outranks the US and South Korea for having the most number of citizens holding a degree in higher education. Their progressive educational curriculum promotes innovation and entrepreneurship.

South Korea

South Korea shares the most heavily militarized borders with North Korea, but the southern half of the Korean Peninsula is rich in culture, tradition, and education. Seoul, the country’s capital, is home to many of the country’s top universities. Some cities in South Korea are also known for their colleges and study abroad programs.

The demand for higher education in South Korea is very strong as the government spent US $43.1 billion on education in 2015. It seems to have paid off well, as 46.86% of its population is considered educated adults.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has a long history of art and science contributions in the world. Take for example, William Shakespeare, who was one of the most famous playwrights and one of the greatest writers in the history of English literature. London is not just a famous tourist attraction, but it’s also home to prestigious colleges and notable global influence.

The UK is home to some of the top universities in the world, including Cambridge and Oxford. According to the OECD, 45.96% of the population is categorized as an educated adult. OF course, they are also known as a well-read population.

United States

The United States dominates the rankings of the best colleges and universities in the world. Eight of the top 10 universities around the globe are in America, including your Ivy League schools.

But while most Americans are going to college than ever before, it still lags behind some of the countries in the world. Based on the OECD’s findings, 45.67% of American adults are considered educated.


When it comes to education, about 43.74% of Australians have reached the tertiary level. Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide are all major cities that house great universities. Melbourne is the cultural center of Australia, so students won’t get bored in this city. The city is known for its museums, cafes, restaurants, nightlife, and live music.

While about 70% of the country’s GDP comes from jobs in the service industry, top tier positions are filled with college graduates. Industries that are booming in Australia with lots of workers with college degrees include media, tourism, health care, and entertainment.


According to the OECD, 43.6% of Finland’s adult population has a tertiary education level. It’s one of the world leaders when it comes to education. The capital Helsinki is home to some great universities.

Finland shares a border with Sweden, Norway, and Russia, but ranks above all them in terms of the most number of educated citizens. As it functions as a parliamentary democracy, the country also ranks high in press freedom and civil rights.


The Scandinavian country of Norway is famous for its natural beauty, including glaciers and coastal fjords. Its capital, Oslo, is home to several universities. And nearly all of Norway’s population lives in the South, which surrounds the capital. Of the 5 million people living there, 43.02% of them are considered as educated adults.

Higher studies in Norway are some of the best in Europe. The country is also ranked as one of the highest standards of living in the world based on average levels of income and education.


Though Luxembourg is one of the smallest countries in the world, it’s one with the most population of educated adults. Plus, this small European country is also one of the wealthiest. In terms of education, 42.86% of its population is considered as an educated adult.

France, Germany, and Belgium surround the mostly rural country of Luxembourg, and most of the country’s universities and colleges are in the capital. Most of the institutions focus on business, as well as law and social work. The country is known for its generous tax breaks, which is why business is the most popular program of study.