U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Skip Header

For Immediate Release: Thursday, June 09, 2016

Education Revenue Saw its Largest Increase Since 2008, Census Bureau Reports

Press Release Number CB16-108

JUNE 9, 2016 — Elementary and secondary education revenue are up 3.3 percent nationally, from 2013, amounting to $617.6 billion in fiscal year 2014, according to a report released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.

“This is the largest increase in total revenue since 2008, when there was a 4.1 percent increase from the prior year,” said Stephen Wheeler, an analyst in the Economic Reimbursable Surveys Division. “School system revenue comes from federal, state and local government sources.”

Per pupil spending for the nation was $11,009, a 2.7 percent increase from 2013. This was the largest increase in per pupil spending since 2008 when there was a 6.1 percent increase from the year prior. Among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, New York spent the highest per pupil, at $20,610, while Utah came in the lowest at $6,500.

Per pupil spending includes gross school system expenditure for instruction, support services and noninstructional functions including direct expenditure for salaries, employee benefits, student transportation, building maintenance, purchased property and other services and supplies.

Following New York, the highest spending per pupil in 2014 was in the District of Columbia at $18,485, Alaska at $18,416, New Jersey at $17,907 and Connecticut at $17,745.

After Utah, the states spending the least per pupil were Idaho at $6,621, Arizona at $7,528, Oklahoma at $7,829 and Mississippi at $8,263.

Of the 100 largest school systems by enrollment, Maryland had four of the 10 public school districts with the highest current spending per pupil. This marks the seventh year in a row Maryland has had four schools in the top 10 in this category. The top five school districts for per pupil spending were Boston City Schools at $21,567, New York City School District at $21,154, Anchorage School District in Alaska at $15,596, Baltimore City Schools in Maryland at $15,564  and Howard County Schools in Maryland at $15,358.

The findings come from the Public Education Finances: 2014 report, which provides figures on revenues, expenditures, debt and assets (cash and security holdings) for the nation’s elementary and secondary public school systems. The report and tables, released annually, include detailed statistics on spending – such as instruction, student transportation, salaries and employee benefits – at the national, state and school district levels.

Public Education Expenditure

Total expenditure by public school systems was $613.6 billion in fiscal year 2014, up 2.6 percent from 2013. Public education expenditure categories include instructional spending, support services spending, capital outlay and other current spending. Total school district debt increased by 0.5 percent from the prior year, from $414.3 billion in fiscal year 2013 to $416.2 billion in fiscal year 2014.

  • Expenditures for instruction amounted to $330.4 billion, or 60.4 percent of total current spending.
  • National expenditures for instruction included salaries and wages at $211.7 billion and employee benefits totaled $81.8 billion.
  • National support service expenditures included general and school administration at $39.5 billion, operation and maintenance of plant expenditure at $51.0 billion and pupil transportation at $23.9 billion.
  • Instructional salaries are the largest expenditure category for public elementary and secondary education, which amounted to $211.7 billion, or 34.5 percent of total expenditures.
  • Of the total expenditure for elementary and secondary education, current spending made up $546.7 billion, or 89.1 percent, and capital outlay was $47.6 billion, or 7.8 percent.
  • All nine states in the Northeast region of the U.S. were ranked among the top 15 in current spending per pupil. Out of the 20 states with the lowest per pupil spending, 18 were in the South or West regions. The remaining states were Indiana and South Dakota, which are in the Midwest.

Public Education Revenue

  • State governments contribute the greatest share of public school system funding at $288.6 billion, or 46.7 percent of total revenue.
  • Revenue raised from local sources amounted to $276.2 billion, or 44.7 percent of public elementary-secondary funding, while the federal government contributed $52.9 billion, or 8.6 percent of public elementary secondary funding.
  • The $276.2 billion schools received from local sources included $239.0 billion from taxes and local government appropriations.
  • Public school systems receiving the highest percentage of revenues from the federal government were Louisiana with 15.3 percent, Mississippi with 14.9 percent, South Dakota with 13.9 percent, Arizona with 13.3 percent and New Mexico with 12.9 percent.
  • Public school systems receiving the lowest percentage of revenues from the federal government were Connecticut with 4.0 percent, New Jersey with 4.2 percent, Massachusetts with 4.8 percent, New York with 5.5 percent and New Hampshire with 5.5 percent.

These statistics provide researchers, policymakers and the public with a picture of the nation’s public school system education revenue and spending. These data are used in a variety of important economic measures, such as the U.S. Department of Education’s Title I grants and the Bureau of Economic Anaylsis’ gross domestic product measure.


The data used in the tabulations came from a census of all 15,078 public school systems. As such, they are not subject to sampling error. Although quality assurance methods were applied to all phases of data collection and processing, the data are subject to nonsampling error, including errors of response and miscoding. For more information, visit the Census Bureau’s website at //www.census.gov/govs/school.


Public Information Office




Back to Header