Monday, October 22, 2007

Spending for children

The Rockefeller Institute has updated an earlier report on spending for children in the American states. The new report presents data for 1992, 1998, 2003, and 2004 on state and local government expenditures in major programs designed for children or in which children are the main beneficiaries.

The report finds that state and local governments spent $467 billion of their own-source funds on major programs for children in fiscal year 2004. About 9 out of 10 of all dollars spent on children went to K-12 education. The remaining funds supported health programs and a category of expenditures encompassing a variety of nonhealth, noneducation programs (including TANF/AFDC, foster child and other child welfare services, child care, and child support enforcement).

Real (inflation-adjusted) spending per child by state and local governments increased by 34 percent between 1992 and 2004. The fastest growing expenditure during this period in the area of health, which nearly doubled in real per-pupil terms. TANF/AFDC expenditures declined between 1992 and 2004, while other social service programs grew.

States varied greatly in their levels of spending. Total per child spending ranged from $9,297 in New Jersey down to $3,699 in Utah.

Future reports will examine the relationship at the state level between state spending for children and state fiscal capacity and the racial composition of persons living in the state. The Institute website will also soon make available the data and state profiles produced from of the data.

The research has been supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation

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