2020 Survey of the States Reveals ‘Notable Increase’ in Personal Finance and Economic Education Across America

But Council for Economic Education Report Finds K-12 Students in Half the States and Lower-Income Children Still Not Assured Adequate Access to Essential Life Skills

NEW YORK--()--After many years of little progress, the tide toward offering personal finance and economics in high school classrooms across America is rising, according to the 2020 edition of the Survey of the States: Economic and Personal Finance Education In Our Nation’s Schools.This is a positive outcome given that learning basic concepts of personal finance and economics helps young people make better decisions and build successful lives.

The Survey of the States, conducted every two years for more than two decades by the Council for Economic Education (CEE), analyzes the state of K-12 economic and personal finance education across America with data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The report is available online at www.SurveyOfTheStates.com.

“After many years of little change, the 2020 Survey of the States shows real progress and a notable increase in the number of states with graduation requirements in both economics and personal finance,” said CEE President and Chief Executive Officer Nan J. Morrison. “We’re heartened that progress is happening, but there’s still a long way to go to ensure equal access to these essential life skills, with students from lower-income households dramatically trailing their more affluent counterparts.”

Among the Survey’s findings:

  • 21 states now require high school students to take a course in personal finance, a net increase of four states, with five adding requirements since the last Survey in 2018 (Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, South Carolina) and Florida dropping its requirement.
  • 25 states now require high school students to take a course in economics, an increase of 3 states (Hawaii, Ohio and Wyoming) since 2018.
  • While all states have some standards for schools teaching economics, 5 states plus the District of Columbia still do not include personal finance in their K-12 curriculum standards: Alaska, California, Montana, New Mexico, Wyoming and DC.
  • While more states are requiring economics and personal finance to graduate high school, six fewer are testing in economics and two fewer are testing personal finance. The six that abandoned economics testing are Indiana, Louisiana, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina and Texas; Oregon and Texas also no longer test personal finance.

Requirements matter. Research indicates that in states that have requirements, students exhibit more informed behavior around college financing, in particular those from lower-income families. In states without requirements, there is a 15-point gap in access to financial education between kids from lower- income versus wealthier families.

Yet even without state requirements, actions can be taken. Schools can come to CEE for free resources and professional development for teachers, and parents and community leaders can encourage their elected representatives or state treasurer or education officials to act to implement requirements.

About the Council for Economic Education: CEE’s mission is to equip K-12 students with the tools and knowledge of personal finance and economics so that they can make better decisions for themselves, their families and their communities.

We carry out our mission by providing resources and training to K-12 educators and have done so for over 70 years. Nearly two-thirds of the teachers we reach in-person are in low- to moderate-income schools. All resources and programs are developed by educators and delivered by our 188 affiliates across the country in every state. We reach over 50,000 teachers a year through in-person professional development and those teachers, in turn, reach approximately 5 million students throughout the country. EconEdLink, our free online educator gateway for economic and personal finance lessons and resources, attracts more than 700,000 unique visitors per year.

We also advocate for more and better education in personal finance and economics, primarily through the biennial Survey of the States.

Learn more about us at www.CouncilForEconEd.org.


For additional information or to arrange interviews:
Kate Alexander kate@successioncommunications.com 201-638-3946

Release Summary

CEE's 2020 Survey of the States finds despite increases in K-12 personal finance education, many in the US are not taught these essential life skills.


For additional information or to arrange interviews:
Kate Alexander kate@successioncommunications.com 201-638-3946