Poor families spend $600 more on prom than wealthier ones

Prom too expensive? Get a dress for free
Prom too expensive? Get a dress for free

Poor families plan to spend more than 5% of their income on prom this year, according to a new survey.

Families with a household income of less than $25,000 plan to spend $1,393 for the prom, according to Visa's annual nationwide survey on high school's most storied night.

That's compared to those making more than $50,000, who plan to spend an average of $799.

Spending for the evening includes the costs of tickets, clothes, limousine rental, flowers, photographs, food accommodations, and, of course, an after party.

Overall, the average planned spending of the more than 3,000 people surveyed was $919.

Related: More than half of middle-class kids fail to earn bachelor's degrees

This means that those who fall around or under the poverty line are spending an average of nearly $600 more than those who are more well off, and about $475 above the overall average.

The federal poverty line was $24,250 for a family of four in 2014.

Low-income families spending more than wealthier ones on prom night was a trend in past years as well, according to Nat Sillin, Visa's head of financial education in the U.S.

In both 2012 and 2013, poorer families said they would spend more than the national average and those who made more than $50,000. But last year, as well as in 2011, the opposite was true.

Overall, the survey found that prom spending is down 6% this year from a year earlier. But far more parents are planning to pick up the costs -- 73% said they'd pay for their teenage dream this year compared to just 56% last year.

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