WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – Canada is the country with the highest proportion of college-educated adults in the world.
Despite spiking tuition costs, overwhelming loan balances, and the unemployment rate for recent college graduates has been hovering around 53 percent – many across the globe still think college is worth the investment, according to a study conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Topping the charts is Canada — the only nation in the world where more than half its residents can proudly hang college degrees up on their walls. In 2010, 51 percent of the population had completed a tertiary education, which takes into account both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Canada commanded the top spot in the last study in 2000, but even still has shown serious improvement.
Canada has managed to become a world leader in education without being a leader in education spending, which totaled just 6.1 percent of GDP in 2009, or less than the 6.3 percent average for the OECD.
A decade ago, only 40 percent of the nation’s population had a college degree.
Israel took the number two spot, Japan in third, the United States in fourth and New Zealand rounded out the top five. All of these countries showed at least 40 percent of the population with a higher education degree.
While these countries have steadily increased education rates, the increases have been modest compared to developing economies. At just above 1 percent, the U.S. has had one of the smallest annual growth rates for higher education since 1997.
OECD’s Chief Media Officer Matthias Rumpf explained that educational funding appears to have a strong relationship to how many residents pursue higher education. Private spending on educational institutions relative to public expenditure is much larger in the countries with the highest rates of college-equivalent education.
The study shows that we’ve continued to flock to institutions of higher learning, enrolling at record rates over the past few years. The percentage of adults with degrees soared highest in developed nations, reaching 30 percent in 2010.