"Prom season spending is spiraling out of control as teens continuously try to one-up each other," Jason Alderman, senior director of global financial education at Visa Inc., said in a statement. "It's important to remember that the prom is a high school dance, not a wedding, and parents need to set limits in order to demonstrate financial responsibility."
The survey found regional and income level disparities. Families in the Northeast will spend twice as much as every other region of the country. Regionally, the survey found:
-- Northeastern families plan to spend an average of $1,944.
-- Southern families plan to spend an average of $1,047.
-- Western families plan to spend an average of $744.
-- Midwestern families plan to spend an average of $696.
The parents surveyed indicated those in the lowest income brackets -- less than $50,000 a year -- said they plan to spend more than the national average, $1,307, while parents who make $20,000 to $29,999 said they plan to spend an average of $2,635, although parents who make more than $75,000 plan to spend an average of $842.
The survey of 1,000 telephone interviews was conducted nationally from March 30 to April 1 by GfK Roper OmniTel.