Policy & Research
United States Invests $1.3 Trillion in Ed
- By Dian Schaffhauser
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
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."
Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.