This paper characterizes household spending in education using microdata from income and expenditure surveys for twelve Latin American and Caribbean countries and the United States. Bahamas, Chile, and Mexico have the highest household spending in education and Bolivia, Brazil, and Paraguay have the lowest. Tertiary education is the most important form of spending, and most educational spending is performed for 18- to 23-year-old individuals. More educated and wealthier household heads spend more in the education of household members. Households with both parents present and those with a female main income provider spend more than their counterparts. Urban households also spend more than rural households. On average, education in Latin America and the Caribbean is a luxury good, whereas it may be a necessity in the United States. No gender bias is found in primary education, but at secondary school age and up households invest more in females than in males.

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