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For Immediate Release: Thursday, May 18, 2023

Public School Spending Per Pupil Experiences Largest Year-to-Year Increase in More Than a Decade

Press Release Number CB23-TPS.61

MAY 18, 2023 — Nationally, public school spending per student experienced the largest fiscal year-to-year increase since 2008, up 6.3% to $14,347, according to new data from the 2021 Annual Survey of School System Finances released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. This spending is up from $13,501 in FY 2020. Public school spending per pupil in the 50 states and the District of Columbia also increased for the 10th year in a row in fiscal year 2021.

Elementary and secondary education revenue from all sources in FY 2021 totaled $810.0 billion, up 5.0% from the prior fiscal year.

The Annual Survey of School System Finances provides data about public school spending — including per student (pre-K to grade 12) expenditures — debt and assets (cash and security holdings) for all states and the District of Columbia. Statistics are not adjusted for cost-of-living differences between geographic areas.

Other highlights:

  • The states that spent the most per pupil in FY 2021 were New York ($26,571); the District of Columbia ($24,535), which comprises a single urban district; Vermont ($23,586); Connecticut ($22,769); and New Jersey ($22,160). Those spending the least per pupil were Idaho ($9,053), Utah ($9,095), Arizona ($9,611), Mississippi ($10,170) and Florida ($10,401).
  • Seven of the nine states in the Northeast region (Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont) were ranked among the top 10 in spending per pupil in FY 2021. Pennsylvania ranked 12th and Maine was ranked 13th.
  • Of the 20 states with the lowest per pupil spending, 17 (Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah) were in the South or West regions. The remaining three were Missouri, South Dakota and Indiana.
  • Of the 100 largest school systems by enrollment, the districts with the highest spending per pupil in FY 2021 were Boston City Schools in Massachusetts ($31,397), New York City School District in New York ($29,931), Washington Schools in District of Columbia ($24,535), Atlanta School District in Georgia ($18,492), Chicago School District in Illinois ($18,216), and Los Angeles Unified in California ($18,179).

An interactive data visualization is available to accompany the release of this data.

Preliminary FY 2022 data are set to be released in the fall of 2023.

No news release associated with this product. Tip sheet only.      



Patricia Ramos
Public Information Office
301-763-3030 or
877-861-2010 (U.S. and Canada only)


Page Last Revised - May 18, 2023
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