Educational Attainment and Enrollment around the World


Patterns of educational attainment vary greatly across countries, and across population groups within countries. In some countries, virtually all children complete basic education whereas in others large groups fall short. The primary purpose of this research is to document and analyze these differences using a compilation of a variety of household-based data sets: Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS); Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS); Living Standards Measurement Study Surveys (LSMS); as well as country-specific Integrated Household Surveys (IHS) such as Socio-Economic Surveys.

As an illustration, the figure below shows dramatic differences in attainment by wealth. When households are ranked according to their wealth status (or more precisely, a proxy based on the assets owned by members of the household) there are striking differences in the attainment patterns of children from the richest 20 percent compared to the poorest 20 percent.

In Nigeria only 38 percent of 15 to 19 year olds in the poorest quintile have completed grade 1 whereas 98 percent of the richest quintile have done so. In many countries, for example Rwanda, Nepal and Thailand, almost all the children from the wealthiest households have completed at least one year of schooling. In some countries, like Rwanda, wealth gaps are evident from grade 2 onwards, in other countries, like Nepal and Thailand, wealth gaps emerge later in the school system.

The data can be accessed either through the EdAttain website or by downloading the Stata file at the bottom of this page. The EdAttain website allows a visual exploration of gaps in attainment and enrollment within and across countries, based on the international database which spans multiple years from over 120 countries and includes indicators disaggregated by wealth, gender and urban/rural location.



EdAttain country- and survey-level indicators visualization website


• International database: documentation (pdf file)

• International database: Stata/dta file (zipped)

Version 5 Plus, Released February 2023



Deon Filmer

Director, Development Research Group