Connect with us

Just how big is the US education market?


Just how big is the US education market?

Whether you’re a teacher, student, parent, or tech startup, you probably should know the answer to this question: just how big is the US education market? Is it a billion dollars? A trillion dollars? Somewhere in between? More importantly, you should know the size of the different grade levels within the US market if you’re looking to get involved in just about any way, shape, or form.

So we thought it might be a useful time to highlight the answer to this tough question since it’s relevant to just about anyone living in the United States. The question pops up at education conferences, tech conferences, parent-teacher conferences, and everywhere else education is the topic of conversation.

Answer This Question Before Scrolling

So before you scroll down for the answer, ask yourself if you know the answer? Do you know how big (financially) the US education market actually is? Do you know the market size of the different grade levels?

A trillion dollars? That much? Think again.

It’s actually higher than that, believe it or not. According to Jeff Silber and a slew of other online research, the current education market is roughly $1.3 trillion dollars. That’s because it includes more than 100,000 schools, salaries, chairs, desks, tables, pensions, etc. It makes up about 9% of the US Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and is second only to healthcare.

Identify The Size Of These Markets

Ok, so you weren’t completely correct on the overall number. Let’s try to get a bit more granular. What are the sizes of the different grades that comprise the US education market? Write your answers on your computer screen or smartphone screen in permanent market right here: ________________

  • The Early Childhood Education Market
  • The K-12 Education Market
  • The Higher Education Market
  • The Adult Learning Market
  • Tutoring / Test Prep
  • Online Education
  • Textbooks (print and digital)

Really? You think that’s the estimated size of the K-12 market? Interesting. Anyway, let’s look at the best numbers I could find while doing a little poking around with Dr. Google:

Answers: The Size Of The US Education Market

  • The Early Childhood Education Market is valued at roughly US$70 billion
  • The K-12 Education Market is valued at roughly US$670 billion
  • The Higher Education (universities, colleges, etc.) Market is valued at about US$475 billion
  • The Adult Learning Market (continued education) is about US$55 billion.
  • The Tutoring and Test Prep market is only about US$1 billion. Pretty small, really.
  • The Online Education market is about US$20 billion. A bit bigger than expected.
  • The Print and Online Textbook market is about US$8 billion. Quite sizable.

Let’s Put It Into A Larger Context

So the US education market is huge. But how big is it in your state? Here is a handy interactive guide from U.S. News and World Report that will help clarify the size of the education market on a state-by-state basis.

Curious About International Education?

You should be! Here’s a handy chart that explains the per-pupil spending among many countries based on GDP.


Jeff is an education and technology lover who has worked in far too many industries to count. Okay, like maybe 5 or 6. Jeff can indeed count that high but it's not recommended. Jeff also likes to write bios in the third-person.


More in Education

Most Read This Week

To Top