Distribution of parental education
Data on the highest qualification levels of parents in families with dependent children.
Summary main findings
41% of adults in families with dependent children had a degree or above in 2021, up from 30% in 2014.
26% had GCSEs or below in 2021, down from 33% in 2014.
Visualisation for by year
Percentage of adults in families with dependent children in different education levels, over time (UK, 2014 to 2021)
Click or tap on legend items to toggle visibility
Data for by year
|Year||Lower level (below CSE grade 1) (%)||O level, GCSE and equivalent (%)||A level and equivalent (%)||Further education (%)||Degree and above (%)|
Visualisation for by area
Percentage of adults in families with dependent children with a higher education qualification, by region (UK, 2014 to 2021 combined)
41 regions in the UK are ranked from the lowest to highest percentages. They are then divided into 5 equally-sized groups (‘quintiles’), from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest).
The regional estimates have a large margin of error – do not rank or compare specific regions.
The lines either side of the dots represent confidence intervals – the range of values that the 'true' value for each region is highly likely to be within. In many cases the confidence intervals overlap. This suggests differences between specific regions may not be statistically significant.
See the composite indices for more precise estimates and to understand overall regional patterns.
Data for by area
|Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire||38.3|
|Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire||48.4|
|Cornwall and Isles of Scilly||27.7|
|Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire||29.4|
|Dorset and Somerset||31.9|
|East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire||24.3|
|Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Bath/Bristol area||37.7|
|Hampshire and Isle of Wight||35.7|
|Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire||35.1|
|Highlands and Islands||32.0|
|Inner London - East||46.0|
|Inner London - West||65.1|
|Leicestershire, Rutland and Northamptonshire||29.6|
|North Eastern Scotland||37.6|
|Northumberland and Tyne and Wear||29.2|
|Outer London - East and North East||40.2|
|Outer London - South||47.1|
|Outer London - West and North West||49.6|
|Shropshire and Staffordshire||27.8|
|Surrey, East and West Sussex||41.2|
|Tees Valley and Durham||23.9|
|West Central Scotland||31.4|
|West Wales and The Valleys||26.0|
Labour Force Survey (LFS), Office for National Statistics.
2014 to 2021
What the data measures
The data shows the education levels of adults in families with dependent children. Dependent children are classed as all 0 to 15 year olds, and 16 to 18 year olds who are in full-time education.
The education levels are:
- lower level (below CSE grade 1)
- O level, GCSE and equivalent
- A level and equivalent
- further education (below degree level)
- higher education (degree level and above)
Things you need to know
The average age of survey respondents was 40 years old. The majority of respondents are likely to be the parents or carers of dependent children, but some could be adults living in homes with parents who have dependent children.
Respondents aged less than 21 years old were not included.
Data is weighted using LFS probability weights.
The error bars show 95% confidence intervals. These intervals show where we expect the true value from a population to be 95% of the time. For example, a confidence interval with the range of values from 5 to 10 implies that there is a 95% chance that the true population value is between 5 and 10, and a 5% chance that it is outside of this range. The narrower the confidence interval or range, the more precise the estimate. Read more about confidence intervals
Type of data
Read more in State of the Nation 2023 on GOV.UK.
This file contains the following variables:
- Indicator code
- Indicator name
- Area type
- Area code
- Area name
- Time period
- Category type
- Sample size
- Lower confidence interval
- Upper confidence interval