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Education in Sweden - statistics & facts

Access to free education is a key priority in Sweden, and the population is becoming increasingly more educated. The usual trajectory of education in Sweden starts with preschool and ends with higher education. Around 37 percent of the Swedish population had attained a post-secondary education in 2019, most of which lasted three years or more. The highest share of the population, however, had upper secondary education as their highest education level.

Preschool and primary school

Preschools are overseen on a municipal level in Sweden, and attendance is optional and available for children from one year up to the fall semester when they turn six years old. In 2019, 85.4 percent of all children of preschool age were attending one of the 9,750 preschools in the country. That was the highest share during the period from 2009 to 2019. While children can enter preschool from the age of one, preschool attendance was most common for five-year-olds.

After preschool, the next step on the education ladder is primary school. Primary school institutions are also overseen by municipalities and consist of nine years of compulsory education. The nine years are divided into three stages: lower school, intermediate school, and junior high school. The number of primary schools decreased since 2012 and amounted to 4,829 institutions in 2019. However, the number of pupils attending primary school increased annually since 2010, reaching roughly 1.1 million pupils in 2019; a development which resulted in a constant increase in the average number of pupils per primary school in the country.

Upper secondary and higher education

Contrary to primary school, upper secondary education is optional in Sweden. Over 355 thousand students were admitted to the 1,307 upper secondary schools in 2020, which was the highest number of students since 2011. Unlike primary schools, the average number of students per upper secondary school decreased significantly over the past decade and amounted to 272 students per school in 2020.

Upper secondary schools primarily prepare for higher education, and nearly 360 thousand students were registered at higher education institutions in Sweden in 2019. Most students were enrolled at the University of Stockholm, with close to 45 thousand registrations. Other popular universities were Uppsala University, and the University of Gothenburg. In terms of gender, a larger proportion of women than men complete a higher education course of three years or more. Despite this significant difference, more Swedish men than women hold doctorate degrees (PhDs).

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 35 most important statistics relating to "Education in Sweden".

Education in Sweden

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Important key figures

The most important key figures provide you with a compact summary of the topic of "Education in Sweden" and take you straight to the corresponding statistics.


Primary school

Upper secondary education

Higher education


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