New York spends three times as much money per student as Utah.

American public elementary and secondary schools spent $10,560 per student during the 2011 fiscal year, down from $10,615 the year prior, according to a report [PDF] released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. This is the first time that number has declined since the Census started collecting this data in 1977.

The report revealed striking differences between states in the amount of money spent per student. Check out this interactive map, built by us using the report's data.

Schools in the darkest green states spent the most per kid. New York is the highest spender, at $19,076 per student, followed by D.C. at $18,475 (not visible on the map), Alaska at $16,674, New Jersey at $15,968, and Vermont at $15,925. (These were the same top five spenders last year [PDF] as well, but in a different order.) New York spent over three times the amount spent per student in Utah, the lowest-spender at $6,212. (Complete rankings are in the report.) The report authors note that these numbers can mean different things in different school districts and states, depending on how they categorize current spending.

These spending discrepancies aren't just a trend in the lower grade levels. As Jordan Weissmann explained a few months back at The Atlantic, only two states didn't cut their per-student spending in higher education from fiscal year 2008 to 2013.

Map created on Google Drive.

About the Author

Sara Johnson

Sara Johnson is a former fellow at CityLab. 

Most Popular

  1. Design

    The Military Declares War on Sprawl

    The Pentagon thinks better designed, more walkable bases can help curb obesity and improve troops’ fitness.

  2. Postcards showing the Woodner when it used to be a luxury apartment-hotel in the '50s and '60s, from the collection of John DeFerrari
    Equity

    The Neighborhood Inside a Building

    D.C.’s massive Woodner apartment building has lived many lives—from fancy hotel to one of the last bastions of affordable housing in a gentrifying neighborhood. Now, it’s on the brink of another change.

  3. Members of a tenants' organization in East Harlem gather outside the office of landlord developer Dawnay, Day Group, as lawyers attempt to serve the company with court papers on behalf of tenants, during a press conference in New York. The tenant's group, Movement for Justice in El Barrio, filed suit against Dawnay, Day Group, the London-based investment corporation "for harassing tenants by falsely and illegally charging fees in attempts to push immigrant families from their homes and gentrify the neighborhood," said Chaumtoli Huq, an attorney for the tenants.
    Equity

    Toward Being a Better Gentrifier

    There’s a right way and a wrong way to be a neighbor during a time of rapid community change.

  4. Life

    Why a City Block Can Be One of the Loneliest Places on Earth

    Feelings of isolation are common in cities. Let’s take a look at how the built environment plays into that.

  5. Equity

    The Poverty Just Over the Hills From Silicon Valley

    The South Coast, a 30-mile drive from Palo Alto, is facing an affordable-housing shortage that is jeopardizing its agricultural heritage.