Visualization: district spending adequacy profiles

This tool allows users to display and visualize spending adequacy and related measures for over 12,000 individual U.S. school districts. Choose a district by selecting a state and then choosing from the list of districts in that state (you can also search for a district within a selected state using the search field atop the district drop-down menu). Selecting a district will populate data for that district (you can only view one district at a time). The visualization is separated into three tabs (click on a tab to display):

  1. Spending adequacy profile: a comparison of actual spending per-pupil with spending required (i.e., adequate) to achieve national average test scores (negative gaps and percentages indicate below-adequate funding). The graph to the right is a comparison of the funding gap (as a percentage) in each district with the average gap among districts in the same state and district child poverty quintile (note that the axis ranges in this graph are automatic, and so large bars may represent small differences, and vice-versa). 
  2. Adequacy vs. outcomes: a comparison of spending adequacy with the testing outcomes in this district. Test scores are expressed as the difference (in standard deviations) between this district’s average score and the U.S. average score (negative values indicate scores below the U.S. mean). In the scatterplot within this tab, the larger orange dot is the selected district and the gray dots represent all districts in the same state. In order to maintain plot size, a small number of gray dots in some states may appear partially or completely outside the displayed plot.
  3. District characteristics: basic information about the district, including enrollment and NCES identification number, as well as a table presenting (for this district and the state overall) the following characteristics: U.S. Census child (5-17 year old) poverty rate; percent Black students; percent Hispanic students; percent special education; and percent English language learners.

All of the district-level data in the visualization are from our District Cost Database (DCD). Districts in which estimates are not available will not appear in the search menus. In the visualization and dataset, all estimates are for the 2017-18 school year. For more information about these measures, see the DCD user’s guide or check out this research brief. You can also download the full dataset. To convert the visualization to a PDF or graphic, use the download button at the bottom.

Latest News


March 2021: New database of spending adequacy in over 12,000 districts. Read the accompanying research brief, view profiles of individual districts, or download the full dataset.

Latest Annual Report

The Adequacy and Fairness of State School Finance Systems

The third edition of our annual report presenting findings on effort, adequacy, and progressivity in state school finance systems. Published January 2021. Read the report.

Latest Research Briefs

BRIEF: The Adequacy of School District Spending in the U.S.

Key findings on the adequacy of school district spending from our new District Cost Database for the 2017-18 school year. Published March 2021. Read the report.