Early Childhood

Which Countries Spend the Most on Early-Childhood Education?

By Christina A. Samuels — June 21, 2017 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

CORRECTED

Norway and Sweden spent nearly 2 percent of their gross domestic product on early-childhood programs and education in 2013, while the United States spent 0.4 percent—well below the 0.8 average of all of the countries included in an analysis released Wednesday from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The United States’s spending as a percentage of GDP is not included in the graphic taken from the report and embedded below, but the graphic shows the rank of several additional countries.

The spending figures are part of two documents released from OECD, which is also the entity that oversees the Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA.

Starting Strong 2017 presents an overview of the early-childhood systems in 30 counties, along with trend data and recent reforms. Starting Strong V: Transitions from Early Childhood Education and Care to Primary Education focuses on how children can move to primary education in a way that maintains the positive impacts of early learning.

Early-childhood education and care has experienced a surge of attention in the countries that the OECD examined. But the organization cautioned that differences in spending across countries is linked closely to the size of a country’s population of young people, how many years children generally are served in early-childhood programs, salaries of teachers, and child-staff ratios.

The OECD report notes that in the United Kingdom, for example, children typically leave pre-primary education at age 4, so the country doesn’t spent as much on that phase of a child’s education as other countries where primary education starts later. For example, in Poland and Sweden, children start primary education at age 7.

Among the other findings in the reports:


  • Despite needing a bachelor’s degree in most countries, early-childhood teachers earn less than their teacher peers with a similar educational background.

  • More than 70 percent of the mothers in Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, and Switzerland work, and those countries also have the highest percentages of children enrolled in formal child care.

  • On average, 15-year-olds who had access to early-childhood education for at least two years outperformed children who did not on the PISA.

  • Helping children learn at home and having more contact between teaching staff and parents is strongly associated with children’s later academic success and socio-emotional development.

[CORRECTION: The original version of this post provided an incorrect figure for the United States’s spending on early care and education as a percentage of GDP. The correct figure is 0.4 percent.]


Related Tags:

A version of this news article first appeared in the Early Years blog.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Early Childhood Opinion Waterford Upstart on Providing Remote Learning to 90,000 Pre-K Kids
Rick Hess speaks with Dr. LaTasha Hadley of Waterford Upstart about its use of adaptive software to close gaps in kindergarten readiness.
6 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Early Childhood Opinion How Two Child-Care Centers Put Competition Aside and Created a Partnership During COVID-19
Due to COVID-19, two early-childhood centers put their competition aside to work together to support families during the pandemic.
Charles Dinofrio
7 min read
Early Childhood New Players Fill Child-Care Gap as Schools Go Remote
As school districts move to remote instruction for the fall, day-care providers, dance studios, and after-school programs step in to fill school-day child-care gaps.
7 min read
A student works on schoolwork earlier this month at the Wharton Dobson Club in Wharton, Texas, part of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Houston. For a small fee, the organization is offering a full-day program that provides students a safe place to complete their remote learning classwork and socialize with friends.
A student works on schoolwork earlier this month at the Wharton Dobson Club in Wharton, Texas, part of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Houston. For a small fee, the organization is offering a full-day program that provides students a safe place to complete their remote learning classwork and socialize with friends.
Courtesy of Boys and Girls Club of Greater Houston
Early Childhood Will Kindergartens Be Empty This Fall?
As cases of COVID-19 continue to grow, parents around the country are struggling with whether to send their child to kindergarten this fall. Some say they won't.
6 min read
Satiria Clayton was looking forward to her 5-year-old son Cassius starting kindergarten this year in Tempe, Ariz., but the recent spike in coronavirus cases has left her, like many other parents, worried about what to expect. "In an ideal would I would love to stay at home and teach him,” she said. “The reality is I have to send him to school."
Satiria Clayton was looking forward to her 5-year-old son Cassius starting kindergarten this year in Tempe, Ariz., but the recent spike in coronavirus cases has left her, like many other parents, worried about what to expect. "In an ideal would I would love to stay at home and teach him,” she said. “The reality is I have to send him to school."
Courtesy of Satiria Clayton