Donegal has the highest share of its population with no formal education or primary only (21.9%) in the State. Mayo has the next greatest share in the Western Region (17.4%), followed by Leitrim (15.7%) and Roscommon (15.5%) according to the latest Central Statistics Office figures.
A Western Development Commission (WDC) Insights report on the level of education of the adult population of the Western Region of Ireland was released earlier this week. It's findings are based on results from Census 2016.
The report shows the Western Region has a greater share of its population with no formal education or primary only as their highest level of education completed. The difference is particularly large for those with only primary education (13.4% in the Western Region compared with 11.1% in rest of state).
For qualification levels between lower secondary and ordinary bachelor degree/professional qualification, the share is quite similar in both areas. At the highest levels of education however the difference between the Western Region and the rest of state is quite substantial; 10.2% have an honours bachelor degree/professional qualification in the Western Region compared with 11.7% in the rest of the state, while for postgraduate degree/diploma it is 8.5% compared with 10.1%.
Third level qualification
There are also significant differences across western counties. At 55.2%, Galway City has the second highest share of residents with a third level qualification in Ireland. Within the region, Galway County, Clare and Sligo have the next highest shares of third level graduates. Donegal has the lowest share of residents with third level qualifications in the region (33.4%) and is fifth lowest nationally.
Donegal also has the highest share of its population with no formal education or primary only (21.9%) in the State. Mayo has the next greatest share in the Western Region (17.4%), followed by Leitrim (15.7%) and Roscommon (15.5%). The older age profile and economic profile of these counties, with high employment in more traditional sectors, contributes to this.
There are significant gender differences in education level. Well over a third (36.3%) of men in the Western Region have either no formal education, or primary or lower secondary (Inter/Junior Cert) only. This is compared to about a quarter (26.6%) of women. In contrast, while 23% of men have a third level degree (ordinary bachelor degree/professional qualification or higher), 32.1% of women hold such a qualification.
Significant male out-migration, especially among younger age groups who are more likely to hold higher qualifications, has influenced this.