Nossos serviços estão apresentando instabilidade no momento. Algumas informações podem não estar disponíveis.

Continuous PNAD 2016: 51% of the Brazilian population aged 25 or over had only complete primary education

December 21, 2017 10h00 AM | Last Updated: December 22, 2017 11h59 AM

In 2016, nearly 66.3 million persons aged 25 or over (or 51% of the adult population) had only complete primary education. Besides, less than 20 million (or 15.3% of this population) had complete higher education.

The schooling inequality of the population is regionally marked: in the Northeast, 52.6% had not even finished the primary education. In the Southeast, 51.1% had at least the secondary education.

Within the population aged 25 or over, in Brazil, just 8.8% of blacks and browns had higher education, whereas for the white population the percentage was 22.2%. Complete higher education was more common among women (16.9%) than men (13.5%).

The illiteracy rate of the country was of 7.2% in 2016 (which corresponded to 11.8 million illiterate persons), ranging from 14.8% in the Northeast to 3.6% in the South. For black or brown persons, this rate (9.9%) was more than twice as for the whites (4.2%).

Among the population aged 60 or over, the illiteracy rate reached 20.4%: 11.7% for the whites and 30.7% for blacks or browns.

On average, the country's population had 8.0 years of schooling and the lowest regional averages were in the North (7.4 years) and in the Northeast (6.7 years). White persons had more schooling years (9 years) than blacks or browns (7.1 years).

Nearly 3.1 million children up to 3 years of age (or 30.4% of this age group) attended daycare services. The North presented the lowest schooling rate for those children (14.4) and the South, the biggest (38.0%). Among children aged 4 and 5, the schooling rate was of 90.2%, that is, 4.8 million students.

For persons aged 6 to 14, the schooling rates reached 99.2%, and for those aged 15 to 17, 87.9%.  Among young persons of 18 to 24 years of age, 32.8% were attending school and 23.8% were attending universities.

Attendance of students in the public schools prevailed in basic education: 73% in preschool, 83.4% in primary education and 85.8% in secondary. In graduation courses, 74.3% of the students attended the private network.

In 2016, professional education was taken by 842 thousand students of technological higher education, by 2.1 million in technical courses of secondary education, whereas 568 thousand persons were attending some sort of professional qualification course.

In Brazil, 24.8 million persons of 14 to 29 years did not attend school and did not go through the education cycles up to the conclusion of graduation. Of this group, 52.3% were men and more than half declared not to be studying due to work, while other 24.1% said they were not interested in continuing their studies. Among women, 30.5% did not study due to work: 26.1% because of the household chores or people care taking and 14.9% for not being interested.

These are some of the highlights of the thematic module of the Continuous PNAD on Education, with 2016 data. Access the complete information on the survey here.

Northeast had the highest illiteracy rate

In Brazil, in 2016, the illiteracy rate of persons aged 15 and over in was estimated at 7.2% (11.8 million illiterate persons). Among the group of 60 years of age and older, the rate reached 20.4%. The Northeast Region presented the highest illiteracy rate (14.8%), almost four times higher than the rates of the Southeast (3.8%) and South (3.6%). In the North Region, the rate was 8.5% and in the Central-West, 5.7%. Goal 9 of the National Education Plan for 2015, which estimates a reduction of this indicator to 6.5%, was only achieved in the South, Southeast and Central-West Regions.

The illiteracy rate for men aged 15 and older was of 7.4% and for women, 7.0%. Among blacks and browns (9.9%), the rate was more than twice as the white population figure (4.2%). Among the elderly aged 60 and over, the rate was of 11.7% for the white population and 30.7% for blacks and browns.

51% of the population aged 25 or over had only complete primary education and 15.3% had a higher degree

In the country, 11.2% of the population aged 25 or over were uneducated; 30.6% had incomplete primary education; 9.1% had complete primary education; 3.9% had incomplete secondary education; 26.3% had complete secondary education and 15.3% had a higher degree. Therefore, more than half of the population aged 25 and over in Brazil had only complete primary education. Regions North and Northeast registered the greatest percentages of uneducated persons, 14.5% and 19.9%, respectively. The biggest proportions of the complete higher education were estimated for the Central-West (17.4%) and Southeast (18.6%), whereas the regions North and Northeast had the smallest proportions, 11.1% and 9.9%. In the Northeast, 52.6% of the population did not complete the Primary education cycle. In the Southeast Region, 51.1% had at least Complete Secondary Education.

8.8% of blacks and browns and 22.2% of whites had a higher degree 

Women presented higher schooling level than men: whereas 52.8% of men had complete primary education, the proportion of women was 49.4%. With a higher degree, the percentage was 16.9% for women and 13.5% for men.

Whereas 7.3% of white persons were uneducated, the proportion of black and brown persons that were in this group was twice as that: 14.7%. The percentages of complete higher education were the other way around: 22.2% for whites and 8.8% for blacks and browns. The gap in terms of higher degree was sharper in the Southeast Region, 25.6% for white persons and 9.0% for black or brown persons. The Central-West Region showed the highest proportion (12.9%) of blacks and browns with complete higher education.

Distribution of persons ages 25 and over, by color or race, according to schooling level - Brazil - 2016

On average, persons aged 25 and over had 8 years of schooling

In 2016, the number of years of schooling of the persons aged 25 and over was 8.0 years. The Northeast and North stood below the national average, with 6.7 years and 7.4 years respectively, whereas the South (8.3 years), Central-West (8.3 years) and Southeast (8.8 years) stood above. For women, the figure was 8.2 years, and for men 7.8. For white persons, the average was 9.0 years and for black and brown persons, it was 7.1.

Less than a third of children aged up to 3 attended daycare centers

About 56.5 million people attended school or daycare. Among the children from 0 to 3 years old, corresponding to the nursery cycle, the schooling rate was 30.4%, equivalent to 3.1 million students. The North Region presented the lowest rate, 14.4%, and the South, the largest, 38.0%. According to color or race, it was estimated that the enrollment rate of white children (34.1%) in this segment was higher than that of black or brown (27.1%).

Among the 4 and 5-year-old children, the rate corresponding to pre-school was 90.2%, equivalent to 4.8 million students. The North (84.1%) and Central West Regions (84.4%) had the lowest rates, and the Southeast (90.8%) and Northeast (94.1%) Regions had the highest rates. For children 4 and 5 years of age, the schooling rate was higher among whites (91.5%) than among blacks or browns (89.1%).

In the nursery or pre-school education, the majority studied in a single shift: only in the morning, 40.9%, or only in the afternoon, 34.8%; 23.4% studied both shifts.

99.2% of children and teens attended school

For children and adolescents from 6 to 14 years of age, age bracket corresponding to the compulsory primary school, the rate was 99.2%, equivalent to 26.5 million students.

Finally, for the 15 to 17-year-old age group, compatible with secondary education, the rate was 87.2%, equivalent to 9.3 million students.

32.8% of young people aged 18 and 24 attended school

In Brazil, 32.8% of 18-to-24-year-old persons were attending school, which is equivalent to 7.3 million students. For persons aged 25 and older, the schooling rate was 4.2%, equivalent to 5.5 million students. Schooling rates between the major regions ranged from 31.2% in the Northeast to 35.5% in the Central-West.

According to color or race, the schooling rate of white persons (37.4%) was higher than that of blacks and browns (29.4%), the same happening for all Major Regions. It was in the higher education that there was the greatest gap between whites and blacks or browns, 8.0 p.p.

Schooling rate of persons aged 18 to 24, by color or race, according to Major Regions - 2016


73.5% of students attend public school

Of the total number of students, 73.5% attended public school and 26.5% private school. In all the Major Regions, the public education network surpassed the private one, especially in the North, where 82.5% of the students were in the public network. The Southeast Region had the highest proportion of students in private schools: 30.1%.

The public network corresponds to more than 70.0% of the students in the secondary education, whereas in higher education this percentage is reduced to 25.7%, and in specialization courses, master's and doctorate programs, it goes to 32.9%. 

Almost all secondary students attend a single shift

In the nursery or pre-school cycles, the majority studied in a single shift: only in the morning, 40.9%, or only in the afternoon, 34.8%; 23.4% studied in the morning and afternoon. The elementary school showed a similar behavior, but with the single shift highest frequency: 53.5% only in the morning and 40.5% only in the afternoon; the morning and afternoon shift was 4.0%. In the secondary education, 92.0% of students were in a single shift: 50.5% in the morning only, 18.5% in the afternoon only and 23.0% in the evening only. In higher education, 83.6% of students studied in a single shift: either only in the morning or only in the afternoon (21.5%), and only night (62.1%); 10.7% studied in the morning and afternoon.

26.1% of young women who did not study left school due to household chores or care taking

In 2016, the country had 24.8 million teens and young persons aged 14 to 29 who did not attend school, nor did they attend university entrance preparatory courses,  secondary technical courses or professional qualification courses. The most frequent reasons were: they did not attend because of work, or were looking for a job, or were about to start in a new job (41.0%); they had no interest (19.7%); and for having to do household chores or take care of children, adolescents, old persons or people with special needs (12.8%). In addition, 8.0% stated they had already reached the schooling level they wanted to and 7.8% said they lacked the money to pay the expenses. Regarding the difficulty of access, 2.6% did not go to school because there were no vacancies or schools in the surroundings, or because school was very distant.

Distribution of persons aged 14 to 29 that did not attend school, by reason for not attending, by sex - 2016

Among young men who did not study, the most frequent reason for not being in school was that they were working (50.5%). In addition, 24.1% of them said they had no interest and 8.2%, claimed they had already reached the schooling level they wanted to. Among women, the reasons for not studying were: work (30.5%); household chores or care taking of children, adolescents, old persons or people with special needs (26.1%), and because they had no interest (14.9%). It should be noted that the proportion of young women who did not study due to do household chores or caring for people was 32.6 times higher than that of men.

1.7 million people attended Youth and Adult Education (EJA)

In 2016, 1.7 million people attended Literacy and Youth and Adult Education (EJA) courses. The most frequent shifts of regular elementary school were the morning and afternoon shifts, whereas 83.2% of EJA students, in elementary school, studied at night. Again, secondary school followed the behavior of elementary school, where the predominant shifts of the regular courses were morning and afternoon, and for the EJA secondary education, the night shift prevailed (85.2%).

10.5% of university students were in technological graduation

In 2016, among the more than 8 million graduation students in Brazil, 842 thousand students attended technological courses, which corresponds to 10.5% of the total number of students in higher education. The Southeast Region presented the highest percentage, 11.4%, while, in the Northeast, 8.5% of the students were in technological graduation. This type of professional education was more frequent among men (12.6%) than women (8.8%) and showed no relevant differences between white and black or brown persons.

In 2016, about 54 million persons in Brazil could attend a secondary technical course. Of this group, 3.9% were attending a secondary technical course and, among the Major Regions, this percentage kept the same level, except for the South with a 5.0% participation in technical courses. 

The number of persons in Brazil who had already attended a technical course of secondary level and did not complete higher education nor were attending a technical course reached an amount of 6.9 million people in 2016. In this group, approximately 3.6 million were men and 3.3 million women.

Only 718,000 people attended professional qualification courses in 2016

In 2016, of those aged 14 or over with complete secondary education, just 8% were in a vocational qualification course, which is equivalent, in absolute terms, to 568 thousand people. The percentage is small, given the group that could have had access to this training, and varies little between men and women and between the Major Regions.

In Brazil, 15.8 million persons aged 14 and older with secondary education level and those with incomplete higher education, without a diploma of secondary technical courses, had already attended a professional qualification course, that represents 11.0% of this population. Of this contingent, 93.7% completed the qualification. The Central-West Region had the highest percentage (14.9%) and the Northeast had the lowest (8.9%). Men presented higher percentages than women, 12.1% and 9.9%, respectively. There were no significant differences between white and black or brown people.