Academic qualifications from the annual population survey
Summary
For the year from January 2018 to December 2018, the annual population survey estimated that 188,700 people of working-age (16-64 years) in the Lancashire-12 area, or 26.6% (±2.2), had a degree or equivalent qualification and above. This percentage was significantly lower than the GB estimate of 31.6% (±0.2). However, the Lancashire-12 percentage was not significantly different to the North West estimate of 28.4% (±0.6) for this category in statistical terms.
For the Lancashire-14 area, the APS estimated that 224,900 people of working-age, or 25.5% (±1.4), had a degree or equivalent and above. This percentage estimate was again significantly lower than the GB figure of 31.6% (±0.2) in statistical terms. The Lancashire-14 estimate was also statistically lower than the North West estimate of 28.4% (±0.6) for this category.
Four of the six NUTS3 areas in the Lancashire-14 area also had estimated percentages of their working age populations with degree level, equivalent, or above qualifications that were significantly lower than the GB figure (31.6% (±0.2) in statistical terms. These were the East Lancashire (18.6% (±3.7)), Blackpool (18.9% (±2.5)), Blackburn with Darwen (22.9% (±2.5)) and Lancaster and Wyre (24.7% (±4.4)) NUTS3 areas. The first three of these areas also had figures that were statistically lower than the North West estimate (28.4% (±0.6)).
For the Chorley and West Lancashire NUTS3 area (31.3% (±5.3)) and the Mid Lancashire NUTS3 area (26.8% (±3.8)) the estimated percentages of the working age populations with degree level, equivalent, or above qualifications were not significantly different to the GB (31.6% (±0.2)) or the North West (31.6% (±0.2)) figures. They were however significantly higher than the estimates for the East Lancashire (18.6% (±3.7)), Blackpool (18.9% (±2.5)) and Blackburn with Darwen (22.9% (±2.5)) NUTS3 areas.
Note: The East Lancashire NUTS3 area is comprised of Burnley, Pendle, Hyndburn and Rossendale local authority areas. Mid Lancashire NUTS3 area is comprised of Fylde, Preston, South Ribble and Ribble Valley local authority areas. |
As a consequence of a lower percentage of the working age population having a degree or equivalent qualification or above in the Lancashire-14 area, four of the remaining five qualification categories in the Lancashire-14 area tend to have higher percentages than Great Britain. However, only three of these four categories are significantly higher than the GB estimates in statistical terms. These three categories were for those persons with higher education qualifications below degree level, for those persons with GCE A level or equivalent, and for those persons with GCSE grades A to C or equivalent. The Lancashire-14 percentage estimate for those people with no qualifications was not statistically different to the GB estimate. (see slide five of the Microsoft Power BI report)
In the Lancashire-14 area, the percentage of the working age population with other qualifications was significantly lower than the GB estimate for this category.
Change from 2012 to 2018
According to the survey results, the total numbers educated to degree level or above has risen from 155,000 in 2012 to 188,700 in 2018 in the Lancashire-12 area. This has not exactly been a steady rise, but perceived volatility may be down to the relatively small sample sizes at the Lancashire-12 and Lancashire-14 levels. At the national level, the increase has been smoother over the same seven years, and the corresponding decline in persons with no qualifications has also been smoother. Please refer to Figures 5 and 5a in the Microsoft Power BI report (Slide 3: "Time series"). The figures for each year can also be viewed in Tables 3 and 3a.
Change from 2012 to 2018 for the two higher qualification levels (combined)
The time-series from the year ending December 2012 to the year ending December 2018 reveals an improving trend at the national and regional levels for the percentage of the working age population with the two highest levels of qualifications (degree, or equivalent and above, plus higher education (below degree level) combined). The trend is more volatile for the Lancashire-14 and Lancashire-12 areas.
At the GB level, the percentage of the working age population qualified to the highest two levels of qualification grew from 34.6% (±0.2) in 2012, to 40.0% (±0.2) in 2018. This is a statistically significant increase. In the North West, the percentage increased from 30.6% (±0.6) in 2012, to 36.2% (±0.7) for the year ending December 2018. Again, this is a statistically significant increase.
For the Lancashire-14 area over the same period, the increase was from 31.1% (±1.5) to 35.4% (±1.5). This is also a statistically significant change. For the Lancashire-12 area, the increase was from 33.1% (±2.2) in 2012, to 37.0 (±2.4) in 2018. This is not a statistically significant change. Estimates at the Lancashire-12 and Lancashire-14 levels can be volatile and the change over time should be re-evaluated in the future.
For further analysis by qualification level at both the Lancashire-12 and Lancashire-14 area levels, please see the full report which can be downloaded at the bottom of the page |
Background information
The annual population survey (APS) is a survey of households in the United Kingdom with the purpose of providing information on key economic and social variables between the 10-yearly censuses. The results in this report consider estimates of qualification level (by GCSE {academic} level or equivalent) that are derived from the survey. The full range of APS data sets for all areas of the country can be downloaded from the Nomisweb site.
For the year to December 2018, there were 226,818 people surveyed in the UK, with 2,189 of these interviews taking place in the Lancashire-12 area, and 5,000 in the Lancashire-14 area
The qualification level estimates are for people of working age, which is 16-64 for both males and females. As the figures shown are from a survey, and are based on samples of the size shown, the numbers shown here are estimates. The NOMIS data selection tool provides 95% confidence intervals for each figure. We use the confidence intervals by adding them to, and subtracting them from, the estimated percentages, thereby calculating ranges within which we can be 95% confident that the true figures lie. Where these ranges for different geographic areas overlap, we cannot be confident that the values are 'statistically significantly different'.
It is because the confidence intervals can be quite large for some districts in the Lancashire-12 area that we have based the dashboards on NUTS 3 areas.
Four of these areas are combinations of whole districts (Lancaster and Wyre, Chorley and West Lancashire, Mid Lancashire and East Lancashire) and also replaced the previous NUTS 3 area UKD43 which covered the same extent as the Lancashire-12 area. These new NUTS 3 areas came into force on January 1^{st} 2015. The older Blackburn with Darwen and Blackpool NUTS 3 areas are the same as their corresponding unitary authority area. Confidence intervals for these two authorities are not too high because the sample sizes are much greater. The availability of Annual Population Survey results for NUTS hierarchy geographies makes this article much more useful, although the historic results have only been back-dated to 2012 for any NUTS 3 area, as displayed in Figure 5 on slide 3 (Time series) of the Microsoft Power BI report.
The GOV.UK website has a web page 'What qualification levels mean', which readers may find useful.
To enlarge the slides to full-screen, click on the arrow on the slide's footer that looks like this. To return to a normal display, use the Escape (Esc) key.
Microsoft Power BI report
Source: Nomisweb
Slide 1 of the Power BI report shows the estimates for persons of working age (16-64) by each of six highest academic qualification level. This is for the latest year, 2018. We say 'highest' because clearly people with degree level qualifications will also have GCE A levels and GCSEs or their equivalent. More than one band may be selected. If so, the combined percentage is fairly accurate, but the confidence intervals no longer apply^{1}. In the pie-chart, Figure 2 estimates for all of the qualification levels are shown for any of the NUTS 3 areas, or combinations of these. The smaller pie-charts, Figures 2a and 2b show estimates for the higher geographies.
The second slide is similar to slide one, but breaks each academic qualification level further down by gender. At this level of detail a few of the estimates become unreliable, and where this happens the percentage is not shown, while the estimate is flagged up in red in table 2.
Slide three "Time series" shows the estimates from 2012 to 2018.
Slide four "Confidence intervals" allows a more detailed analysis of which percentages are statistically different. In figures 6, 6a and 6b the lower confidence limit, middle estimate and upper confidence limit are displayed as bars grouped together. Some of the values do not show as labels because of space limitations, but by hovering the cursor over the bar will reveal figures provided as 'tooltips' in Power BI graphics. If the value of an 'upper confidence' limit is less than the 'lower confidence' limit of another area, then there is statistical difference between these two areas.
Slide five "Statistical significance" allows instant visualisation of which areas are significantly different to a selected area. The bars are shaded light green if the area is significantly higher or shaded dark green if significantly lower. Those that are not significantly higher or lower are similar in terms of significance, and are shaded light blue.
^{1} It is possible to calculate confidence intervals for combined groups of academic qualifications, but only when accessing the APS data from the NOMIS query page. The chosen variable can be 'user-defined' whereby combinations of groups are possible. The NOMIS data tool then re-calculates the confidence intervals.
Page updated May 2019