18-year-olds with a minimum of NCEA Level 2 or equivalent

Why This Is Important

A Level 2 qualification gives people opportunities in terms of further education and employment, contributing to better health outcomes and a better quality of life.  The attainment of an upper secondary school qualification is linked to labour force status and incomes. In 2014, New Zealand adults without a qualification at level 2 or higher had an unemployment rate 45% higher than those with such a qualification (Statistics New Zealand 2014).


Percentage of 18-year-olds with a minimum of NCEA level 2 or equivalent


Numerator: (Data Sources: Ministry of Education: School Leaver Data | NZQA: Tertiary Student Enrolment & Completions Data)


The total number of 18-year-olds who attained an NCEA level 2 or equivalent qualification.

An NCEA level 2 or equivalent qualification is considered:

  • Any qualification on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF) at level 2 or higher or;
  • Any schooling qualification not on the NZQF but recognised to be equivalent to a NZQF level 2 or higher qualification. These qualifications are often collectively referred to as non-NZQF qualifications, and in the schooling sector include:
    • Cambridge International Exams;
    • International Baccalaureate;
    • Accelerated Christian Education;
Denominator: (Data Sources: Ministry of Education: ENROL) 


The total number of 18-year-olds in a given year that had attended school in New Zealand.

Eighteen year-olds have been defined as a cohort born in a specific year. For example, those born in 1993 are the 2011 18-year-olds examined, those born in 1994 the 2012 18-year-olds etc.

Exchange and International fee-paying students and deceased students are excluded from both the numerator and denominator.

Total Response Ethnicity

Total response ethnicity is when people who have been identified in more than one ethnic group have been counted in each ethnic group. For the New Zealand total each student is counted only once. Total response ethnicity has been used for all analysis in this indicator.

Indicator Pages


Where To Find Out More

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