Per pupil spending for public elementary and secondary education fell in fiscal year 2011 – the first ever recorded annual decline, according to Census Bureau data released today.

In all, the 50 states and the District of Columbia spent $10,560 per student, with more than three-quarters funding salaries and employee benefits. The decline represents only a 0.4 percent reduction from 2010, but it’s the first year-over-year decrease since the federal government began recording data in 1977.

Public spending fell by $873 per pupil in New Jersey, the largest yearly decline of any state, followed by Illinois (-$860) and Maine (-$820). A total of 21 states reported spending drops from 2010.

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Students in Alaska (+$891), New Hampshire (+$840) and Connecticut (+$694) saw spending rise the most, not adjusting for inflation.

The Census Bureau ranked states based on current spending, which does not include capital outlays, interest on debts and payments to other governments. The rankings didn’t change much from the previous data release, with New York replacing D.C. as the nation’s top spender. The following table shows current spending per pupil, by state:

         
State FY 2011 FY 2010 Change Percent Change
New Jersey 15,968 16,841 -872.73 -5.2
Illinois 10,774 11,634 -860.33 -7.4
Maine 11,438 12,259 -820.45 -6.7
New Mexico 9,070 9,384 -313.41 -3.3
Oklahoma 7,587 7,896 -308.84 -3.9
Idaho 6,824 7,106 -281.98 -4.0
Indiana 9,370 9,611 -241.61 -2.5
California 9,139 9,375 -235.93 -2.5
Virginia 10,364 10,597 -232.40 -2.2
Missouri 9,410 9,634 -224.14 -2.3
Kansas 9,498 9,715 -217.09 -2.2
District of Columbia 18,475 18,667 -191.77 -1.0
Mississippi 7,928 8,119 -191.15 -2.4
Arizona 7,666 7,848 -182.24 -2.3
South Carolina 8,986 9,143 -156.95 -1.7
Georgia 9,253 9,394 -141.10 -1.5
Colorado 8,724 8,853 -129.03 -1.5
North Carolina 8,312 8,409 -96.36 -1.1
Texas 8,671 8,746 -74.51 -0.9
Alabama 8,813 8,881 -68.04 -0.8
South Dakota 8,805 8,858 -53.70 -0.6
Minnesota 10,712 10,685 27.04 0.3
Washington 9,483 9,452 30.87 0.3
Iowa 9,807 9,763 43.68 0.4
Nevada 8,527 8,483 43.79 0.5
Oregon 9,682 9,624 58.38 0.6
Louisiana 10,723 10,638 84.75 0.8
Nebraska 10,825 10,734 91.21 0.8
Rhode Island 13,815 13,699 116.79 0.9
Maryland 13,871 13,738 133.09 1.0
Montana 10,639 10,497 141.74 1.4
Florida 8,887 8,741 145.21 1.7
Utah 6,212 6,064 148.56 2.4
Tennessee 8,242 8,065 177.47 2.2
Michigan 10,823 10,644 179.90 1.7
Ohio 11,223 11,030 192.49 1.7
Arkansas 9,353 9,143 210.17 2.3
Hawaii 12,004 11,754 250.45 2.1
Delaware 12,685 12,383 302.28 2.4
West Virginia 11,846 11,527 319.20 2.8
Massachusetts 13,941 13,590 350.97 2.6
Kentucky 9,309 8,948 360.96 4.0
Wisconsin 11,774 11,364 409.41 3.6
North Dakota 11,420 10,991 429.07 3.9
New York 19,076 18,618 457.79 2.5
Pennsylvania 13,467 12,995 471.73 3.6
Vermont 15,925 15,274 651.72 4.3
Wyoming 15,849 15,169 679.97 4.5
Connecticut 15,600 14,906 693.79 4.7
New Hampshire 13,224 12,383 840.25 6.8
Alaska 16,674 15,783 891.46 5.6



Utah ($6,212), Idaho ($6,824) and Oklahoma ($7,587) spent the least per student in fiscal 2011.

Salary and benefits for instructional employees account for the largest share of spending. A smaller portion funds administrative costs, ranging from 13 percent of per pupil current spending in D.C. to 5.3 percent in Arizona.

Combined general and school administration costs per pupil were highest (as a percentage of total current spending) in the following states in fiscal 2011:

District of Columbia: 13 percent Maine: 9.5 percent Vermont: 9.4 percent Illinois: 9.2 percent North Dakota: 9.2 percent New Hampshire: 9 percent Colorado: 8.8 percent Missouri: 8.71 percent Mississippi: 8.69 percent Oklahoma: 8.65 percent On the revenue side, school districts reported slight growth as total revenues climbed 1 percent for the year. State funding, the largest source of education revenue, rose 3 percent, while money allocated by the federal government and localities declined by less than 1 percent each.

Federal funds accounted for the highest share of revenue in the following states: Mississippi (22.3 percent), South Dakota (20.3 percent), Louisiana (18.7 percent), Alaska (17.8 percent) and Florida (17.8 percent).

Select a state from the menu below to see how its expenditures and revenues per student fluctuated in recent years.
 

Learn About Tableau View the complete set of new data on the Census Bureau website.