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Per Pupil Spending By State 2021

Education varies significantly between states. Some states are better for education overall, some have higher educational attainment levels, and some have the best conditions for teachers.

Per pupil spending is the amount spent on education per student. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the amount spent per pupil for public elementary and secondary education increased by 3.4% during the 2018 fiscal year, making the sixth consecutive year of increased spending in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

U.S. Public Education Spending

In the United States, K-12 schools spend about $612.7 billion annually. This is about $12,612 per pupil. Federal, state, and local governments spend about $720.9 billion annually or $14,840 per pupil. The federal government provides 7.7% of funding, state governments provide 46.7%, and local governments provide 45.6%. On average, the U.S. spends $15,908 per pupil on postsecondary education and $33,063 per pupil on graduate and postgraduate education.

The United States allocates about 11.6% of public funding to education, below the international standard of 15%, and spends about 4.96% of its GDP on education, compared to the 5.59% average of other developed nations. The U.S. spends the fifth-highest amount per pupil compared to the 37 other OECD countries, behind Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, and Norway.

Per Pupil Spending by State

Public school spending varies greatly in different states and depends on several factors. One factor is the money that the schools are allocated, which directly correlates with how much the schools spend on students. Higher teacher salaries and benefits also lead to higher per-pupil spending, among several other factors.

For most states, instructional employee salaries and benefits account for at least half of the total per-pupil spending. Administrative expenses and support staff also account for some of the spending.

New York has the highest per-pupil spending of all of the 50 states. New York currently spends $24,040 per pupil, approximately 90% above the national average. Utah has the lowest per-pupil spending of $7,628 per student.

The ten states with the highest per pupil spending are:

  1. New York - $24,040
  2. District of Columbia - $22,759
  3. Connecticut - $20,635
  4. New Jersey - $20,021
  5. Vermont - $19,40
  6. Alaska - $17,726
  7. Massachusetts - $17,058
  8. New Hampshire - $16,893
  9. Pennsylvania - $16,395
  10. Wyoming - $16,224

Here are the 10 states with the highest per pupil spending:

  1. New York ($24,040)
  2. Connecticut ($20,635)
  3. New Jersey ($20,021)
  4. Alaska ($17,726)
  5. Massachusetts ($17,058)
  6. New Hampshire ($16,893)
  7. Pennsylvania ($16,395)
  8. Wyoming ($16,224)
  9. Rhode Island ($16,121)
  10. Illinois ($15,741)

Per Pupil Spending By State 2021

State Amount Spent Per Pupil
New York$24,040
Connecticut$20,635
New Jersey$20,021
Alaska$17,726
Massachusetts$17,058
New Hampshire$16,893
Pennsylvania$16,395
Wyoming$16,224
Rhode Island$16,121
Illinois$15,741
Delaware$15,639
Hawaii$15,242
Maryland$14,762
Maine$14,145
North Dakota$13,758
Ohio$13,027
Washington$12,995
Minnesota$12,975
California$12,498
Nebraska$12,491
Michigan$12,345
Wisconsin$12,285
Virginia$12,216
Oregon$11,920
Iowa$11,732
Montana$11,680
Kansas$11,653
Louisiana$11,452
West Virginia$11,334
Kentucky$11,110
South Carolina$10,856
Missouri$10,810
Georgia$10,810
Indiana$10,262
Colorado$10,202
Arkansas$10,139
South Dakota$10,073
Alabama$9,696
Texas$9,606
New Mexico$9,582
Tennessee$9,544
Nevada$9,417
North Carolina$9,377
Florida$9,346
Vermont$9,340
Mississippi$8,935
Oklahoma$8,239
Arizona$8,239
Idaho$7,771
Utah$7,628

Per Pupil Spending By State 2021