Government expenditure on education, total (% of GDP)

Definition: General government expenditure on education (current, capital, and transfers) is expressed as a percentage of GDP. It includes expenditure funded by transfers from international sources to government. General government usually refers to local, regional and central governments.

Description: The map below shows how Government expenditure on education, total (% of GDP) varies by country. The shade of the country corresponds to the magnitude of the indicator. The darker the shade, the higher the value. The country with the highest value in the world is Cuba, with a value of 12.84. The country with the lowest value in the world is Monaco, with a value of 1.15.

Source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics (

See also: Country ranking, Time series comparison

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Development Relevance: The percentage of government expenditure on education to GDP is useful to compare education expenditure between countries and/or over time in relation to the size of their economy; A high percentage to GDP suggests a high priority for education and a capacity of raising revenues for public spending. Note that government expenditure appears lower in some countries where the private sector and/or households have a large share in total funding for education.

Limitations and Exceptions: Data may refer to spending by the ministry of education only (excluding spending on educational activities by other ministries).

Other Notes: Data retrieved via API in March 2019. For detailed information on the observation level (e.g. National Estimation, UIS Estimation, or Category not applicable), please visit UIS.Stat (

Statistical Concept and Methodology: Government expenditure on education, total (% of GDP) is calculated by dividing total government expenditure for all levels of education by the GDP, and multiplying by 100. Aggregate data are based on World Bank estimates. Data on education are collected by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics from official responses to its annual education survey. All the data are mapped to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) to ensure the comparability of education programs at the international level. The current version was formally adopted by UNESCO Member States in 2011. GDP data come from the World Bank. The reference years reflect the school year for which the data are presented. In some countries the school year spans two calendar years (for example, from September 2010 to June 2011); in these cases the reference year refers to the year in which the school year ended (2011 in the example).

Aggregation method: Median

Periodicity: Annual