Good news for high school teens and parents
But one economist has found at least one category that isn’t keeping up with overall inflation: The prom.
Jay Zagorsky has been tracking the cost of a prom since his daughter participated in the ritual nine years ago. His prom price index climbed about 11% in March 2023 from two years earlier, which is around the time when inflation began to surge, he writes in Fortune.
That compares with nearly 14% for overall consumer prices.
The average price of proms has been climbing at a slower pace than overall inflation for a while. Since 1998, prom prices have risen just 40%, less than half the 86% gain in the consumer price index over the same period.
“The primary reason the prom inflation is so much less is that the cost of items like clothing and shoes hasn’t increased in price much over the past couple of decades – or even fallen. Since 1998, the average price of men’s shoes, for example, has gained only 12%, while the price of men’s sport coats has actually plunged 25%. Even the cost of one of the most expensive items needed for the prom, women’s dresses, has dropped 12%.”
“Not every prom category saw price restraint. Full-service restaurant meals and haircuts have approximately doubled since 1998, while beer and car rentals have climbed just under the level of overall inflation.”