The Impact of Education

Education & Economic Development

One extra year of schooling increases an individual’s earnings by up to 10%. 
Source: GEM Report, Education Counts, Toward the Millennium Development Goals, p.7 (2011)

Each additional year of schooling raises average annual gross domestic   product (GDP) growth by 0.37%
Source: GEM Report, Education Counts, Toward the Millennium Development Goals, p.6 (2011)

A dollar invested in an additional year of schooling, particularly for girls, generates earnings and health benefits of US$10 in low-income countries and nearly US$4 in lower-middle income countries.
Source: The Learning Generation, executive summary, p. 4

The cost of 250 million children not learning the basics is equivalent to a loss of US$129 billion per year.
Source: GEM Report 2013/2014, p.19

A dollar invested in a one-year increase in the mean years of schooling generates more than US$5 in additional gross earnings  in low-income countries and US$2.5 in lower-middle income countries.
Source: The Learning Generation, p. 34  

An estimated 150 million children worldwide are engaged in child labor. Sub-Saharan Africa has the largest proportion of child laborers (28% of children aged 5 to 14 years).  Access to education helps reduce poverty, one of the root causes of child labor.
Source: UNICEF data

Child Labor

Health

Each extra year of a mother's schooling reduces the probability of infant mortality by 5% to 10%

Source: GEM Report, p.17

 

A child whose mother can read is 50% more likely to live past the age of five, 50% more likely to be immunized, and twice as likely to attend school. 

Source: The Learning Generation, p. 99

 

One additional year of school reduces the probability of becoming a mother by 7.3% for women who have completed at least primary education. 

Source: World Bank policy research working paper, p.3

 

Women with post-primary education are five times more likely to be educated on the topic of HIV and AIDS. 

Source: UNICEF, The Education Vaccine Against HIV, p. 9

Learning & Literacy

91% of primary school-age children in low-income countries will not achieve minimum proficiency levels in reading and the rate is 87% in math compared to 5% and 8% respectively in high-income countries. 

Source: UIS Fact Sheet 46, p.16

 

93% of secondary school-age adolescents in low-income countries will not achieve minimum proficiency levels in reading compared to 27% in high-income countries.

Source: UIS Fact Sheet 46, p.11

274 million primary school children worldwide are not learning basic foundational skills necessary to lead productive and healthy lives.

Source: Calculated based on data in The Learning Generation, Education Commission, p. 33

Women

One additional school year can increase a woman's earnings by 10% to 20%.

Source: World Bank, Returns to Investment in Education (2002)

 

Some countries lose more than US$1 billion a year by failing to educate girls to the same level as boys.

Source: Plan International: Paying the price: The economic cost of failing to educate girls, p.10

 

In low income and lower-middle income countries, women account for only a third or less of human capital wealth.

Source: Unrealized potential: the high cost of gender inequality in earnings, p.5

 

Human capital wealth could increase by almost 22% globally with gender equality in earnings.

Source: Unrealized potential: the high cost of gender inequality in earnings, p.7

Peace & Tolerance

Literate people are more likely to participate in the democratic process and exercise their civil rights
Source: UNESCO, 2012

If the enrollment rate for secondary schooling is 10 percentage points higher than the average, the risk of war is reduced by about 3 percentage points
Source: World Bank 2005, p. 16

An increase in secondary school enrollment from 30% to 81% is estimated to reduce the probability of civil war by almost two-thirds.
Source: ABC’s, 123’s, and the Golden Rule: The Pacifying Effect of Education on Civil War, 1980–1999

Poverty

420 million people would be lifted out of poverty with a secondary education, thus reducing the number of poor worldwide by more than half.

Source: UIS/GEM Report Policy Paper 32/Fact Sheet 44, p.11

 

If adults had just 2 more years of schooling, 60 million would be lifted out of poverty.

Source: UIS/GEM Report Policy Paper 32/Fact Sheet 44, p.11

Inequality

In low-income countries, around 46% of public education resources are allocated to educate the top 10% most educated students.

Source: The Learning Generation, executive summary, p. 10

 

In poor countries with available data, on average primary-school age children from the wealthiest 20% of households are four times more likely to be learning at the desired levels than children from the poorest 20% of households. 

Source: The Learning Generation, p. 41

 

Young people from the poorest 20% of households are almost six times as likely to be unable to read as those from the richest 20% of households.

Source: GEM Report, Policy Paper 20, p. 7

In countries with twice the levels of educational inequality, the probability of conflict more than doubles.

Source: The Learning Generation, p.23

Each year of education reduces the risk of conflict by around 20%.


Source: UNICEF data

Conflict

Child Marriage

Each year of secondary education reduces the likelihood of marrying as a child before the age of 18 by five percentage points or more.
Source: Economic impacts of child marriage: Global synthesis report (2017), p.5

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