U.S. education spending is inadequate: Current per-pupil spending and predicted spending required to achieve national average test scores, by poverty quintile of school district, 2016

Required spending Actual spending
Highest-poverty (poorest) $20,425 $13,784
High-poverty $14,276 $9,832 
Middle-poverty $11,136 $9,835
Low-poverty $10,135 $9,896 
Lowest-poverty (affluent) $9,702 $8,202 

Notes: District poverty is measured as the percentage of children (ages 5–17) living in the district with family incomes below the federal poverty line using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The figure shows the degree to which states and districts are allocating resources so that districts can achieve national average test scores, by level of poverty in the school districts. In moderate- and higher-poverty districts, the gaps between what is spent and what would be required to achieve at the national level are significant and increase with the level of poverty. In the middle group, districts are spending $1,300 per student less than what would be required (about 88%). In the highest-poverty quintile, the gap exceeds $6,600. This means that, on average, the highest-poverty districts are spending about one-third less than what they need to in order to deliver a sound education to their students.

Source: Reproduced from Baker,  Di Carlo, and Weber 2019.

View the underlying data on epi.org.