How well educated is the Barents Region?

Around one third of Västerbotten's population aged 15 or older holds a higher education degree.

Statistical trends indicate growth in higher education in the Barents Region. Still, some big contrasts dominate the regional picture, with the Swedish counties on top and the Russian at the bottom.


Higher education is becoming an increasingly common trend in the Barents Region. In the last twenty-three years (1990-2013), the average rate of higher education attainment in the Barents Region has almost doubled itself, figures from Patchwork Barents show.

The highest rate of tertiary education attainment can be found among the population of Västerbotten, Sweden. In 2013, 31.5 % of the population aged fifteen or higher held a higher (university level) education degree. 

Västerbotten is also the only county in the Barents Region that has a tertiaty education rate above national level (26.80 %), much thanks to Umeå University, which is Sweden’s fifth oldest university. 

The second highest rate was registered in Troms, Norway, where 28.48 % of the population over fifteen held a higher education degree in 2013.

The five Russian Barents counties rank relatively low, compared to the rest of the Barents Region. In Murmansk Oblast, which has the highest tertiary education rate on the Russian side, the share of population holding a higher education degree is significantly lower than in the Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish Barents counties. According to the last national census in 2010, only 20.44 % of the population in Murmansk Oblast aged fifteen or higher were holding a higher education degree.

Nenets registers an even lower rate of tertiary education among its population. According to the 2010 census, 15.83 % of the population in Nenets holds a higher education degree, which gives this sub region the lowest ranking in the Barents Region.