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Back to School By-the-Numbers

We do the math on the cost of going back to school.

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This story appears in the September 2009 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

From kindergartners to grad students, roughly 76 million Americans are heading back to the classroom this month--but not before they hit the mall. According to the National Retail Federation, parents shell out a whopping $54.1 billion on back-to-school gear, making it a retail season second only to Christmas. The economic downturn has taken a bite out of that apple, but deep discounts and tax holidays may give this season a boost. We'll do the math:



1%-How much retail sales are expected to grow during the 2009 back-to-school season



$3.7 billion-How much parents will spend on new school shoes



$594.24- The average amount spent on back-to-school stuff for each child



3,800,000,000- The number of wooden pencils sold per year



$11.60 per hour- How much the lunch lady takes home (plus Sloppy Joes)



25%- Percentage of college students majoring in business, despite it all



$50,758- The average teacher's salary in the U.S.



15- The number of states offering back-to-school sales tax holidays

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