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Participation in adult education

Producer: Statistics Finland
Homepage: http://
Main topic: Education
Related topics:
Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Yes
European Statistical System (ESS): Yes


The adult education survey is an extensive interview survey on participation in education and learning among the adult population in Finland. The survey produces internationally comparable data on the participation of the adult population in education, learning, the willingness and need to participate in education, opinions and attitudes concerning studying, as well as the obstacles to participation and the adult population’s language skills.

Adult Education Surveys have been conducted at Statistics Finland since 1980 at intervals of around five years. From 2006, the survey has been carried out as part of the Adult Education Survey project of Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Union, for which data are collected in some 30 European countries. In Finland, the survey has been implemented as a joint project between Statistics Finland and the Ministry of Education and Culture.

Data content

The survey provides information about participation of the adult population in general and vocational adult education and changes in the participation. It also gives information about the population's willingness to, need for, obstacles to participation in education and views on education.

Adult education is described by its organisers, contents, scope and perceived effects. Data on specific, additional topics, such as information technology or foreign language skills and diverse everyday learning environments have also been collected in different survey rounds. Since the 1990 data collection, the produced information has included large volumes of data describing the working lives and work histories of the adult population.

The collected basic data must be kept confidential.

Classifications used

Age, sex, level of education, socio-economic group, municipality group

Data collection methods and data sources

The target group of the survey is the adult population (aged 18 to 64) living in Finland and the sample size is around 5,000 persons. Based on survey needs, the population has in some years been extended from the upper end of the age limit. The population for the EU-AES includes persons aged 25 to 64.

Until 2006, the data collection was made as face-to-face interviews. In 2012, telephone interviews were used in addition to face-to-face interviews. In 2017, the data were collected as a mixed-mode data collection as a combination of face-to-face interviews and a web survey.

Data collections

Updating frequency

The Adult Education Survey has been conducted in 1980, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2006, 2012 and 2017.

Data for the next survey will be collected in 2022.

Time of completion or release

Results from the Adult Education Survey 2012 have been reported in the publication Osallistuminen aikuiskoulutukseen vuonna 2012 (in Finnish only) (May 2014).

Results from the Adult Education Survey 2017 will be published in the course of 2018.

Time series

Adult Education Survey data are available for the years 1980, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2006, 2012 and 2017.


adult education, vocational adult education, vocational education, personnel training, self-directed studies, language skills, education, other education than that leading to a qualification, information technology, education leading to a qualification

Contact information

Additional information

With a licence application to use statistical data, the survey data are free for university-level researchers.

Last updated 09.04.2018