Here’s how much each state spends on public school students

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As the above map shows, there is a fairly massive gap in the amount of money spent on students across the country. This map comes from new Census data released Thursday, which includes money spent on salaries, student transportation and instruction.

There’s a particularly acute gulf visible in different regions. As the Census Bureau’s announcement noted, the nine Northeast states were among the 15 states spending the most per pupil; 18 states in the South and West were among the 20 states spending the least per pupil. New York spends the most per pupil ($19,552), more than three times the per-student amount spent in Utah ($6,206), the last state on the list.

Emily Badger has much more here, including a look at which public school districts spend the most per pupil.

Of course, there are a few things to keep in mind. For one thing, the salary information doesn’t factor in cost of living adjustments; these obviously matter, because a teacher in New York is going to be paid more than a teacher in Nevada. (This map shows you how much teachers are paid state by state.)

In addition, as Emily notes in her post, spending alone doesn’t determine the quality of education. There are a wide variety of factors that can determine this, and funding — while important in terms of resources, technology, various supplies and staff size — is just one part of that. Still, underfunded districts face particular challenges, as Valerie Strauss’s post from earlier in the week explains.

Nationwide, an average of $10,608 was spent per student in 2012. That’s slightly down from the $10,615 average in 2010 and up from the $10,259 average in 2008.

Head to Wonkblog for more on these numbers.

Mark Berman is a reporter on the National staff. He runs Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and developing stories from around the country.
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Mark Berman · May 23