NFEC: Back-to-School Survey: Young Adults in 49 States Agree - Financial Literacy Offers More Benefits than Other High School Subjects

Young Americans aged 18 to 24 in 49 out of 50 states across the country agree that financial literacy is the study topic that would benefit their lives more than other high school courses. In a survey conducted between July 15th and 17th 2017 the National Financial Educators Council asked 5,123 young adults, "What high school-level course would benefit your life the most?" Respondents chose money management more often than math, science, and social studies:

49.97% selected "Money Management (Personal Finance)"
18.25% selected "Mathematics (Algebra, Geometry)"
14.43% selected "Social Studies (History, Government)"
17.35% selected "Science (Biology, Chemistry)"

View complete survey results at

The goal of this back-to-school survey was to measure people's opinions about the value of personal finance education relative to other coursework commonly offered by high schools.

Respondents in 28 states voted personal finance would benefit their life more than math, science and social studies combined. Respondents in 48 states voted personal finance over all other subjects with at least 40% voting for personal finance.  The survey shows respondents in only 1 state selected another subject over personal finance. 

The top 10 states that selected personal finance include: Idaho, Oregon, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Ohio, Alaska, Hawaii, Kansas, Indiana and Minnesota with an average of 56.98% selecting money management. Idaho had the most respondents selecting money management with 62% saying it would benefit their life more than the other subjects.

The states with the lowest respondents selecting money management include: New Hampshire, West Virginia, Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, Nevada, Vermont, Maine, Connecticut and Mississippi with an average of 42.36% selecting money management.  The state with the least number of respondents choosing personal finance was Mississippi.

See the full state results at:

As the NFEC's CEO, Vince Shorb, comments, "It's not the 1950s anymore. Public schools have been teaching similar subjects for over 60 years. There have been major technological and economic shifts, meaning this limited focus leaves graduates unprepared for the real world. We call upon the education system to teach subjects that will benefit 100% of students. Recent graduates identify personal finance as the class that would benefit their life the most – the time is now to start teaching this subject."

Past surveys align with the current financial literacy survey results. In a March 2017 released survey by the NFEC, 2,409 people across the United States of 6 different age groups each with 400 respondents or more were asked the same question, "What high school-level course would benefit your life the most?"  Respondents chose money management (54.13%) more often than math, science, and social studies combined. Those between the ages of 35 and 44 selected money management the most with 59.1%, while 51% of 18 to 24-year-old respondents chose money management.   

The NFEC and its partners conducted this back-to-school survey, part of a series of financial literacy research studies exploring various behaviors and attitudes related to personal finance. Future studies will examine the associations between attitudes/behaviors and people's actual financial capabilities.

About the National Financial Eduactors Council (NFEC)
The National Financial Educators Council is a thought leader in the financial education space, offering resources and advocacy for the financial literacy movement. The NFEC conducts research, surveys, and think tanks around financial education-related topics. The organization's goal is to illuminate evidence-based best practices to share with others in the financial coaching and financial education industry.