The wealth of a neighborhood’s residents is one of the largest drivers of education inequality nationwide.
According to the most recent statistics from the Department of Education, property taxes and other local sources account for 44.8% of public school funding in the United States. State and federal sources attempt to close the funding gap caused by wealth disparities at the local level, but a gap remains. Total funding at the poorest 25% of school districts is 3.4% lower than funding at the wealthiest 25% districts nationwide — a difference of about $449 per student.
On the list of the 2020 Best School Districts in America published by school data clearinghouse Niche, which ranks schools districts based on academics, teacher quality, culture and diversity, health and safety, resources and facilities, clubs and activities, sports, and parent and student surveys, many of the top-rated schools districts are in some of America’s less affordable neighborhoods. Click here to see the most affordable housing markets in the country.
While home value, which is closely tied to income — itself a major indicator of educational achievement — is one of the major factors correlating with educational outcomes, it is but one of many important determinants of school quality. There are a number of relatively affordable neighborhoods with high quality schools and educational outcomes.
To determine the most affordable places with the best schools, 24/7 Wall St. ranked the 50 more affordable schools districts based on their position on Niche’s 2020 list of 335 Best School Districts in America. A district is considered affordable if the median home value in the district is below the $193,500 national figure and the ratio of median home value to median household income is below the 3.4 national figure.
Many of the most affordable districts are places in the Midwest and Northeast where population and economic decline in recent decades have led to relatively affordable property values in a number of districts.