Survey of the States

The state of K–12 economic and financial education in the United States

About Survey of the States

Every two years, the Council for Economic Education (CEE) conducts a comprehensive look into the state of K-12 economic and financial education in the United States, collecting data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The biennial Survey of the States serves as an important benchmark for our progress, revealing both how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go. There has been notable progress since the first survey was published in 1998, yet the pace of change has slowed.

2016 Survey of the States: Economic and Personal Finance Education in Our Nation’s Schools

The 2016 Survey of the States shows that there has been slow growth in personal finance education in recent years and no improvement in economic education.

SOS Cover7 300x262 Survey of the States

2016 Key Findings

  • Since 2014, two additional states include personal finance in their K-12 standards and require those standards to be taught.
  • While more states are implementing standards in personal finance, the number of states that require high school students to take a course in personal finance remains unchanged since 2014 – just 17 states.
  • Only 20 states require high school students to take a course in economics – that’s less than half the country and two fewer states than in 2014.
  • There has been no change in the number of states that require standardized testing of economic concepts – the number remains at 16.

Download the study to find out more about each individual state.

view the map1 Survey of the StatesFull Interactive Guide

Visit the interactive companion to Survey of the States at

Follow the arrows on the site and take a visual journey that explores:

  • The costs of financial illiteracy in our country;
  • The current state of financial and economic education;
  • And the benefits and challenges of implementing such education.

The site also includes an interactive map that shows how the K-12 economic and personal finance education landscape has changed since 2002 and includes links to state-specific requirements in economics and personal finance.

Take Action Today

Research shows that requirements are the main driver of economics and personal finance being taught in schools.

Here are some ways that you can take action to make sure that all of our students – not just those living in states with strong financial education mandates – are equipped with the economic understanding and critical-thinking skills necessary to make responsible decisions for their financial futures.


Policy Makers:

Funding for the 2016 Survey of the States was generously provided by Wells Fargo.

WF Logo Survey of the States

More from the CEE