Policy & Research

United States Invests $1.3 Trillion in Ed

In terms of overall spend, the United States tops every other country in education, investing $1.3 trillion across all levels. That's more than seven times the next top contender, Germany, which spends $189.4 billion on education. However, we're only number 8 in terms of education spending as a percentage of the gross domestic product. While US investment is 6.2%, Norway allocates 7.9%, Denmark 7.8% and Iceland 7.7%. Also, whereas this country spends an average per capita of $4,048, that's just two-thirds (68%) of what Norway allocates per person ($5,967).

The research was undertaken by Ezra, a 50-year-old company in the talent and learning and development business that provides coaching across entire organizations. Ezra analyzed data from the World Bank on education spend as a percentage of GDP in each nation and what this investment equated to in terms of total spend and spend-per-person.

The project found that Scandinavian countries accounted for the top four countries in investment per person. Besides Norway, Iceland spent an average of $5,127 per person, Denmark $4,703 and Switzerland $4,206. Sweden, Finland, Belgium and Australia also ranked within the top 10.

Of the 20 countries included in the analysis, Hong Kong came in at the bottom, spending the equivalent of $1,856 per person. That's just $448 less than the United Kingdom, which allocated $2,304.

"Access to a good education is the vital first step usually available to us when building our own personal and professional development. Although we don't realize it when we're younger, it lays the foundations for us to progress later in life and can be vital to our success in the professional world. However, the chance to better ourselves through education doesn't end at school or college and investment into adult education has also been an area of focus over recent years," noted Ezra Founder Nick Goldberg, in a press release. "While these nations present some of the best investment in terms of spend per person, it's also important to remember that the availability of a good education system doesn't guarantee success, in the same way a lack of access doesn't guarantee failure. Once provided with the raw materials, it's down to the individual to build on them and this takes hard work and dedication."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.