U.S. states’ education spending averaged $10,700 per pupil in 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, but that average masked a wide variation, ranging from $6,555 per pupil in Utah to $19,818 in New York.

There’s an even larger range separating the lowest- and highest-spending of the nation’s largest 100 school districts: At the low end is Jordan, Utah, at $5,708 per student; at the high end is Boston, Mass., at $20,502.

Part of the variation is due to the huge differences in costs of living nationwide, which influence everything from teacher salaries to the cost of building and maintaining school facilities. Part is also due to economic realities — many states’ education spending remains lower than it was before the recession.

And part of the variation is due to political decisions to invest more or less in schools, or to do more or less to equalize education spending across low- and high-income areas.

Federal data show that there is a growing gap in education spending by the nation’s poorest and most affluent school districts.

This map shows how per-pupil spending varies nationwide.

Spending ranges from $6,555 per pupil in Utah to $19,818 in New York. Source: U.S. Census Bureau's "Public Education Finances: 2013"
Spending ranges from $6,555 per pupil in Utah to $19,818 in New York. Source: U.S. Census Bureau’s “Public Education Finances: 2013″

Top spenders among states and “state-equivalents,” the Census Bureau’s term for D.C.:

1. New York ($19,818 per student)
2. Alaska ($18,175)
3. District of Columbia ($17,953)
4. New Jersey ($17,572)
5. Connecticut ($16,631)

Bottom spenders among states:

1. Utah ($6,555)
2. Idaho ($6,791)
3. Arizona ($7,208)
4. Oklahoma ($7,672)
5. Mississippi ($8,130)

For the full list of states and their per-pupil spending, see the list below, taken from the report, or page 8 in this PDF.

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Top spenders among the largest 100 school districts:

1. Boston ($20,502)
2. New York City ($20,331)
3. Anchorage, Alaska ($15,419)
4. Montgomery County, Maryland ($15,080)
5. Baltimore City ($15,050)

Bottom spenders among the largest 100 school districts:

1. Jordan, Utah ($5,708)
2. Davis County, Utah ($6,130)
3. Cypress-Fairbanks, Texas ($6,798)
4. Capistrano Unified, California ($6,811)
5. Conroe, Texas ($6,860)

For the full list of the largest districts and their per-pupil spending, see the list below, taken from the report, or page 25 in this PDF.

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