Northern Ireland Census 2021 - MS-G02: Highest level of qualifications by broad age bands

This dataset provides Census 2021 estimates that classify usual residents aged 16 years and over in Northern Ireland by their highest level of qualification, and by broad age bands. The estimates are as at census day, 21 March 2021.

The census collected information on the usually resident population of Northern Ireland on census day (21 March 2021). Initial contact letters or questionnaire packs were delivered to every household and communal establishment, and residents were asked to complete online or return the questionnaire with information as correct on census day. Special arrangements were made to enumerate special groups such as students, members of the Travellers Community, HM Forces personnel etc. The Census Coverage Survey (an independent doorstep survey) followed between 12 May and 29 June 2021 and was used to adjust the census counts for under-enumeration.

'Age' is age at last birthday.


  • No qualifications: No academic or professional qualifications.
  • Level 1: 1-4 GCSEs, O Levels, CSEs (any grades); NVQ level 1; or equivalent qualifications.
  • Level 2: 5+ GCSEs (Grades A*-C, 9-4), O Levels (Passes), CSEs (Grade 1); 1 A Level, 2-3 AS Levels; NVQ level 2, BTEC General, City and Guilds Craft; or equivalent qualifications. Apprenticeship.
  • Level 3: 2+ A Levels, 4+ AS Levels; NVQ Level 3, BTEC National, OND or ONC, City and Guilds Advanced Craft; or equivalent qualifications.
  • Level 4+: Degree (for example BA, BSc), foundation degree, HND, HNC, NVQ Level 4-5, professional qualifications (for example teaching, nursing), or equivalent qualifications.
  • Other: Any other qualifications, equivalent unknown.

Quality assurance report can be found here

Data and Resources

Additional Info

Field Value
Last Updated June 2, 2023, 13:58 (BST)
Created June 2, 2023, 13:58 (BST)
Visibility Public
Year 2021
Topics Demography
Education and qualifications
Units Persons
Geographic Layer Countries
Local Government Districts
Frequency Decennial
Citation Office for National Statistics; National Records of Scotland; Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency; UK Data Service. DOI:
Geographical Coverage Location Northern Ireland
Granularity Country level down to Local Government District
Geographic Spatial data {"geo_type": "multipolygon", "lat": "54.6674", "lon": "-6.80336", "left": "-8.17382", "top": "55.312", "right": "-5.43289", "bottom": "54.0227", "srid": null, "accuracy": null, "source": null}