Devising policies for education, culture and social services cannot but take into account the knowledge of the population’s characteristics as regards the possession of sets of basic skills. Not only must an allowance be made for average levels and scatter of measures referring to the skills assessed, but also for the differences existing in population strata established on the basis of age. This is what was done in a survey promoted by the Monitor on the population profile of the Republic of San Marino. The data obtained allow outlining a picture of the population characterised by a rapid transformation. Moving from the oldest stratum (66-75 years of age) to the youngest (26-35 years of age), we see an evident gradual transformation of cultural features owing to the increase in schooling and, to a much lesser degree, to the initial affirmation of adult education initiatives. However, there are also signals worth reflecting on: the competence levels do not change in line with the duration of education received in the first part of life. The research results were compared, where possible, with those obtained by the Oecd through the International Adult Literacy Survey (Ials), which saw the participation of many industrialised countries.