How 12 Countries Spend Education Money (And If It Makes A Difference)

Locally speaking, what our communities spend on education is a pretty everyday topic, especially if you either have kids in school or are a teacher, changes are that you keep an eye on the school budgets and voting options. But its also interesting to take a look at education spending on a much larger level. This handy infographic below takes a look at the US education spending as compared with eleven other countries – what is the annual spending vs. what are the educational outcomes. Does the amount of money spent correlate at all to better educational outcomes? Keep reading to learn more.

Spending vs. Outcomes: Does Money Make A Difference?

  • The US leads in spending by a LOT – $809.6B per year. The next largest spender is Japan at $160.5B. That’s a pretty huge gap!
  • That translates to $7,743 per student in the US
  • Finland spends only $10B per year (and is the fifth largest spender per student) but has a 100% literacy rate and the highest rank of math and science scores.
  • Australia’s students spend the longest amount of time in school – 21 years.

world education spending

1 Comment

  1. jheiser

    July 30, 2013 at 8:09 am

    This article is interesting in how misleading it is and have decided not to touch on the “outcomes” proposed by it because I would otherwise spend the entire day throwing more and more contradictory data in this entry. I did choose to focus on funding and choose the World Leader in education at the current time Finland. What I found misleading is in education funding. I found that in the US there is approximately 77 million students, with 54 million of them in k12. The information in the chart was taken from the UN takes students from ages 6-23. This would be grade 1-College here in America. In America, we have all day Kindergarten age 5 and college students beyond the age of 23 (all $ factored into this number I discovered). Additionally, I found an inconsistency in the number for Finland as well, in the article it mentions Finland spend $5,000 plus on each student. In my research I found their education system educates about 1,150,000 students in their system for ages 6-23. Using the 10B figure the total spent per student is $8,695.65 for all students and actually $10,694 per student here in the US. Even the raw numbers suggests less is more for these countries, which would support your premise we spend too much and aren’t getting our band for the buck. However, there is a huge disparity in the amount of US GDP which is being spent on education compared to that of Finland. In looking at the statistics of GDP the US spent on education we see the US spent 5.x% of GDP on educational services and institutions vs Finland’s 6.2%. To actually meet that rate of GDP spent on education here in the US would have to invest $930B to education to meet the 6.2% of GDP spent by Finland. This would seem to suggest that more is being done with more investment and that the dollars/student stat which is misleading at best considering our investment in education is actually lower than that of Finland’s. Something to think about.