Cover of higher education & research in France, facts and figures

📄 Source:Insee.

 Coverage:Metropolitan France.

chart 22.01 is based on the Insee Labour Force Survey. Access to the Baccalaureat is studied by five-year age group (age on the date of the survey). It does not include qualifications that are equivalent to the baccalauréat. Those surveyed may have obtained their baccalauréat during initial education or later in life (in the case of those who returned to their studies).

chart 22.02 is based on the Insee Employment survey. Access to higher education is examined by five-year age group (age on the date of the survey). If the respondent states that they are studying or have studied in higher education, they are counted as having accessed higher education, whether or not they have obtained a qualification at this level.

chart 22.03 is based on Insee Labour Force Surveys. The level of qualification obtained by young people aged 25-29 according to their social background is calculated on average for the periods 2003-2005 and 2012-2014. Those surveyed may have obtained their highest qualification during initial education or later in life (in the case of those who returned to their studies).

A child’s social background is determined on the basis of the profession and socio-occupational category (PCS) of their living parents. The PCS of the child’s father is used where this information is available and that of their mother where not. The PCS of a parent who has retired or is unemployed is based on their last job.

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22 level of education according to social background

This page has been updated. Read 21. level of education according social background in Higher education & research in France, facts and figures 10th edition - June 2017

Children whose parents work as managers or in the intermediate professions are more likely to succeed in their studies. They are proportionally more likely to obtain a Baccalaureate, enrol in higher education and achieve higher education qualifications. However, inequalities have been reduced by the fact that access to higher education has improved most significantly for those from the most disadvantaged social backgrounds, although they still remain marked.

Secondary and higher education made strong progress up until the mid-1990s. This is reflected in the fact that they became increasingly accessible to people from all social backgrounds. Despite this, variations between children from different social backgrounds remain.

In 2014, 72% of young people aged between 20 and 24 held a Baccalaureat (chart 22.01). The democratisation of education over the course of the 20th century meant that people from all social backgrounds were more likely to obtain a Baccalaureate. 60% of those aged 20-24 whose parents are manual workers or office workers passed the Baccalaureate. This percentage is twice that recorded for previous generations: only 29% of those now aged 45-49 whose parents were manual workers or office workers hold this qualification. This increase in the number of young people obtaining a Baccalaureate is also found among children whose parents are at the top of the social ladder, although the increase was less marked (87% compared to 67%, i.e. a factor of 1.3, as compared with 2.1 for the children of manual workers and office workers), leading to a shrinking gap between children from different social backgrounds. However, for all ages, children whose parents work as managers or in the intermediate professions remain the most likely to obtain a Baccalaureate.

As a result of continuing efforts to broaden access to secondary education, higher education institutions accepted many more students in the early 1990s. In 2014, 60% of young people aged between 20 and 24 had or had had access to higher education (regardless of whether they graduated), compared with only 33% of those now aged between 45 and 49 (chart 22.02). This improved access to higher education was again most significant for children from the most disadvantaged backgrounds, to such an extent that the gap between those from different social backgrounds was reduced. As a result, among young people aged between 20 and 24, children whose parents work as managers or in the intermediate professions were nearly twice as likely to be studying or have studied at a higher education institution as children whose parents are manual or office workers (78% compared to 45%). People aged between 45 and 49 were three times more likely to be studying or have studied at a higher education institution (58% compared to 21%).

For the 2012-2014 period, 66% of young people aged 25-29 whose parents work as managers or in the intermediate professions obtained a higher education qualification, compared to 30% of children whose parents are manual or office workers (chart 22.03). The former group was also more likely to achieve a higher level of education: for the 2012-2014 period, 32% of them obtained a Master’s degree, Diploma of advanced studies (DEA), specialised graduate diploma (DESS), PhD or qualification from a Grande École, as opposed to only 7% of those whose parents are manual or office workers. However, there was little variation between children from different social backgrounds in the case of vocational higher education short courses: 14% of children whose parents work as managers or in the intermediate professions obtained a higher technical certificate (BTS), university technology diploma (DUT) or equivalent qualification, compared to 12% of children whose parents are manual or office workers.

In around ten years, between 2003-2005 and 2012-2014, against a background of increased influence of the LMD reform, the level of higher education graduates among young people aged 25-29 remained stable, regardless of the social category. However, the share of Master's, DEA, DESS and PhD graduates rose significantly, in the same proportions for each social category.

Finally, children from poorer backgrounds are more likely to leave higher education without obtaining a qualification. In 2012-2014, this was the case for 12% of young people aged 25-29 with parents who were managers or the intermediate professions who had studied in higher education, compared to 21% of the children of manual or office workers.

📄 Source:Insee.
 Coverage:Metropolitan France.

How to cite this paper :

LE RHUN Béatrice. Level of education according to social background. In: Higher education & research in France, facts and figures - 50 indicators [online]. KABLA-LANGLOIS Isabelle (dir.). Paris: Ministère de l'Éducation nationale, de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche, 2016. 9th ed. Chapter 22 [Accessed 08/21/2019]. ISBN 978-2-11-151572-7. https://publication.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/eesr/9EN/EESR9EN_ES_22-level_of_education_according_to_social_background.php

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chart 22.01 is based on the Insee Labour Force Survey. Access to the Baccalaureat is studied by five-year age group (age on the date of the survey). It does not include qualifications that are equivalent to the baccalauréat. Those surveyed may have obtained their baccalauréat during initial education or later in life (in the case of those who returned to their studies).

chart 22.02 is based on the Insee Employment survey. Access to higher education is examined by five-year age group (age on the date of the survey). If the respondent states that they are studying or have studied in higher education, they are counted as having accessed higher education, whether or not they have obtained a qualification at this level.

chart 22.03 is based on Insee Labour Force Surveys. The level of qualification obtained by young people aged 25-29 according to their social background is calculated on average for the periods 2003-2005 and 2012-2014. Those surveyed may have obtained their highest qualification during initial education or later in life (in the case of those who returned to their studies).

A child’s social background is determined on the basis of the profession and socio-occupational category (PCS) of their living parents. The PCS of the child’s father is used where this information is available and that of their mother where not. The PCS of a parent who has retired or is unemployed is based on their last job.

 

Key figures


Share of children of managers or technicians and associated professionals aged 20 to 24 with the baccalauréat
86.8%
 
2014
Metropolitan France
 
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Extract from the chapter "22. level of education according to social background".

Source: Insee
Share of children of manual workers or employees aged 20 to 24 with the baccalauréat
60.3%
 
2014
Metropolitan France
 
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Extract from the chapter "22. level of education according to social background".

Source: Insee
Share of 20-24 year-olds with the baccalauréat
72.0%
 
2014
Metropolitan France
 
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Extract from the chapter "22. level of education according to social background".

Source: Insee
Share of children of managers or intermediate occupations aged 20 to 24 entering higher education
78.4%
 
2014
Metropolitan France
 
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Extract from the chapter "22. level of education according to social background".

Source: Insee
  See more key figures  
Share of children of workers or employees aged 20 to 24 entering higher education
45.5%
 
2014
Metropolitan France
 
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Extract from the chapter "22. level of education according to social background".

Source: Insee
Share of 20-24-year-olds entering higher education
59.8%
 
2014
Metropolitan France
 
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Extract from the chapter "22. level of education according to social background".

Source: Insee

22.01 Baccalaureat pass rate according to age and social background in 2014 (%)

20-24 years
25-29 years
30-34 years
35-39 years
40-44 years
45-49 years
  
Entire generation
Children whose parents are managers or in middle management
Children whose parents are manual workers or employees
 
 

In 2014, 72% of young people aged 20-24 held a Baccalaureat. This was the case for 87% of young people aged 20-24 whose father is a manager or exercises an intermediate profession, compared to 60% of those whose father is a manual or office worker.

📄 Source:Insee
 Coverage: Metropolitan France.

You can embed this chart to your website or your blog by copying the HTML code and pasting it into the source code of your website / blog:

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22.02 Access to higher education in 2014 by age and social background (%)

20-24 years
25-29 years
30-34 years
35-39 years
40-44 years
45-49 years
  
Entire generation
Children whose parents are managers or in middle management
Children whose parents are manual workers or employees
 
 

In 2014, 53% of young people aged 25-29 were studying or had studied in higher education. This was the case for 76% of young people aged 20-24 whose father is a manager or in an intermediate profession, compared to 39% whose father is a manual or office worker.

📄 Source:Insee
 Coverage: Metropolitan France.

You can embed this chart to your website or your blog by copying the HTML code and pasting it into the source code of your website / blog:

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22.03 Qualifications held by young people aged 25-29, broken down by social background (for the periods 2003-2005 and 2012-2014)

2003-2005
2012-2014
2003-2005
2012-2014
2003-2005
2012-2014
Employees and manual workers
Managers and middle management (including teachers)
All
  
Master's degree, Diploma of advanced studies (DEA), Specialised graduate diploma (DESS), PhD
Graduated from a Grande École
Diploma of general university studies (DEUG), Bachelor's degree, 1-year intermediate postgraduate qualification (Maîtrise)
University technology diploma (DUT)/Higher technical certificate (BTS) or equivalent
Paramedical and social care qualifications
Higher education course without qualification
 
 

On average in 2012, 2013 and 2014, 30% of the children of office and manual workers aged 25-29 said they had a higher education qualification, compared to 66% of the children whose parents are managers and intermediate professionals (including teachers).

📄 Source:Insee
 Coverage: Metropolitan France.

You can embed this chart to your website or your blog by copying the HTML code and pasting it into the source code of your website / blog:

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Other editions

Etat de l'enseignement supérieur et de la rechercheHigher education & research in France, facts and figures 10th edition - June 2017
21 - level of education according social background - Anna Testas
Children whose parents work as managers or in the intermediate professions are more likely to succeed in their studies. They are proportionally more likely to obtain a Baccalaureate, enrol in higher education and achieve higher education qualifications. However, inequalities have been reduced by the fact that access to higher education has improved most significantly for those from the most disadvantaged social backgrounds, although they still remain marked [Consult the following page]
Etat de l'enseignement supérieur et de la rechercheHigher education & research in France, facts and figures 8th edition - November 2015
20 - level of education according to social background - Béatrice Le Rhun
Children whose parents work as managers or in middle management are more likely to succeed in their studies. They are proportionally more likely to obtain a baccalauréat, enrol in higher education and achieve higher education qualifications. However, inequalities have been reduced by the fact that access to higher education has improved most significantly for those from the most disadvantaged social backgrounds, although they still remain marked [Consult the following page]

Translation

 Etat de l'enseignement supérieur et de la rechercheL'état de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche en France n°9 - Juin 2016
22 - le niveau d'études selon le milieu social - Béatrice Le Rhun
Les enfants de parents cadres ou de professions intermédiaires réussissent davantage leurs études. Ils sont proportionnellement plus nombreux à être bacheliers, à entreprendre des études dans l’enseignement supérieur et à en être diplômés. Néanmoins, c’est dans les milieux sociaux les moins favorisés que l’accès à l’enseignement supérieur s’est le plus développé, réduisant ainsi les inégalités qui demeurent malgré tout très marquées [Consult the following page in french]


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