$8,701 per student

U.S. public schools spent, on average, $8,701 per pupil in 2005, reports the Census Bureau.

New York was the biggest spender on education, at $14,119 per student, with New Jersey second at $13,800 and Washington, D.C., third at $12,979, the Census Bureau said.

The states with the lowest spending were Utah, at $5,257 per pupil, Arizona $6,261, Idaho $6,283, Mississippi $6,575 and Oklahoma $6,613.

Spending rose by 5 percent from the previous year. Only 9.1 percent of K-12 funding comes from the federal government; that’s up significantly because of No Child Left Behind.

The correlation between spending and performance is weak: Washington, D.C. often ranks first in spending and last in performance. Some Western and Great Plains states have below-average funding and above-average scores.

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  1. Wayne Martin says:

    The Census Press Release is here:


    A couple of .xls files containing details are available.

  2. purchasing power parity is an important concept since there does appear to be a correlation with cost of living (although it can vary widely within NY alone)

  3. Catch Thirty-Thr33 says:

    Spot on. If money was indeed THE cure-all for education, how come the NJ, NY and DC schools aren’t churning out vast armies of Salks, Shakespeares, Mozarts, Baarnards and Einsteins every single spring?

  4. Wayne Martin says:

    According to the Wikipedia entry for “Household Income in the US”, the median income for all households is $46.3K and the median income for two-income earners is $67.3K Spending $9K per student per year seems irresponsible for the results we (as a nation) are receiving for this investment.

    Since the Education Industry constantly claims it is underfunded (at 7.9% of the US GDP), one can only wonder from where the Education Industry believes any additional money should be taken? .

  5. Honestly, $9k per student probably isn’t enough to attract and retain the very best faculty (we should be doubling salaries to draw the bright students who choose much more lucrative careers), but there is also plenty of waste in all government-run bureaucracies. Public schools are certainly no exception.

  6. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Tell an outsider what percent should go into the classroom.