Effective Systems

Public Investment in Children’s Early and Elementary Years (Birth to Age 11)


How government spends money, and who benefits, reveals our priorities. How, then, do children fare in the competition for public resources? This report looks at public investments across age groups, from birth through the elementary years. Key findings show that spending more than doubles per capita between the infant and toddler years and the elementary years. The increase is driven by growing state and local spending; the federal contribution is relatively stable across age groups. Findings also reveal that states and localities spend more money than the federal government does on children, except when it comes to the youngest children.