Update for 2017 on the “Cost of Going to the Prom”

In both 2014 and 2015 I wrote about the cost of going to the Prom. I found the results surprising. The cost of going to the prom from 1998 to 2015 was going up much slower than the cost of inflation. The findings appeared in outlets like the Washington Post, US News and The Conversation. It is now two years later.

What has happened since 2015 to the cost of attending the prom?

The updated data file located here shows the cost of going to the prom continues to rise.  However, the rise is much slower than the overall rate of inflation.  From 1998 to March 2017 the cost of going to the prom rose 23% while overall consumer prices rose 50%. In the typical year since 1998 inflation went up 2%.  Prom costs only went up 1%.

The price for proms has been restrained because many of the items needed to go to the prom are actually falling in price. My prom index contains ten items.  Compared to the Spring of 2015 there are four items (men’s suits, women’s shoes, photographer’s fees and car rentals) which have all gone down in price!

I am not saying proms are cheap.  I still vividly remember the sticker shock when my first child told me the cost.  However, compared to other costs associated with having children, such as college tuition, proms over time are becoming a relative bargain.

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