D.C., West Virginia, North Dakota Record Largest Education Spending Increases

New data shows education spending and revenues per pupil for each state.
by | June 21, 2012

Elementary and secondary education spending climbed slightly to a national average of $10,615 per pupil in fiscal year 2010, according to data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The new figures provide a snapshot of revenues and expenditures for each public school system in the country.

The national average represents an only 1 percent increase from the previous year, and totals for most states remained unchanged accordingly. A few states, though, did report significant swings in spending amounts.

The District of Columbia’s average spending per pupil jumped nearly 14 percent to $18,667, enough to replace New York as the nation’s top spender.

Similarly, West Virginia’s average spending per pupil rose 11.2 percent from fiscal year 2009, but remained below the national average. North Dakota and Illinois saw the next-highest year-over-year increases, of 8.3 and 7.4 percent respectively.

Eleven states recorded declines in average spending per pupil of greater than 1 percent, led by Hawaii (-5.2) and Utah (-4.6).

It’s difficult to reliably compare figures between states. The Census Bureau notes that accounting methods vary, and the numbers don’t account for cost-of-living discrepancies.

The following states had the highest 2010 average elementary-secondary education spending per pupil, based on the census figures:

 State/equivalent 2010 2009 % Change
District of Columbia $18,667 $16,408 13.8
New York $18,618 $18,126 2.7
New Jersey $16,841 $16,271 3.5
Alaska $15,783 $15,552 1.5
Vermont $15,274 $15,175 0.6
Wyoming $15,169 $14,573 4.1
Connecticut $14,906 $14,531 2.6
Massachusetts $14,350 $14,118 1.6
Maryland $13,738 $13,449 2.1
Rhode Island $13,699 $13,707 -0.1

Data for total education revenues -- including local, state and federal funding -- showed little change from the previous year, with a U.S. average of $12,306 per pupil.

For each state's fiscal year 2010 averages, select a state in the menu below:

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. You can enter an anonymous Display Name or connect to a social profile.

More from By the Numbers