A third of adults now have degrees or similar - as area with highest proportion with no qualifications revealed

More than a third (33.8%) of adults in England and Wales now have the highest level of qualification, new census data has revealed.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics also reveal the West Midlands to be the region with the largest proportion of people holding no qualifications - at more than one in five (21.1%).

Nearly half of people in London (46.7%) hold the highest level of qualification, the biggest percentage of any area across England and Wales.

Data was collected as part of the 2021 Census to establish which of the following categories people fell into:

  • No qualifications: no formal qualifications

  • Level 1: one to four GCSE passes (grade A* to C or grade 4 and above) and any other GCSEs at other grades, or equivalent qualifications

  • Level 2: five or more GCSE passes (grade A* to C or grade 4 and above) or equivalent qualifications apprenticeships

  • Level 3: two or more A-levels or equivalent qualifications

  • Level 4 or above: Higher National Certificate, Higher National Diploma, Bachelor's degree, or post-graduate qualifications

The 33.8% of people who are now classed as having the highest qualifications available is an increase from 27.2% in 2011.

Under a fifth of adults nationally (18.2%) said they had no qualifications, compared to 22.7% when the previous census was carried out 10 years ago.

In England, the region with the highest proportion of people with Level 4 or above qualifications was London (46.7%, 3.3 million).

The percentage of people with Level 4 or above qualifications in London (46.7%) was considerably higher than in the region in second place, the South East (35.8%).

The local authorities of the City of London (74.2%) and Wandsworth (62.6%) had the highest proportion of people with qualifications classed as Level 4 or above.

The region with the lowest proportion of people with Level 4 qualifications was the North East (28.6%).

The local authority with the highest proportion of people reporting no qualifications was Sandwell, at 28.9%, followed by Boston (27.6%) and Leicester (26.7%).

The local authority with the lowest proportion of people who said they had no qualifications was the City of London (6.6%).