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Back to School 2017


Junior Achievement USA Surveys of Parents and Teens Show Cost of School Supplies Presents a Financial Challenge for Most Families

78 Percent of Parents Plan to Buy Back-To-School Supplies at Brick-and-Mortar Stores; Only 8 Percent will Shop Online


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A new survey from Junior Achievement USA (JA) shows that 78 percent of parents plan to buy their children’s back-to-school supplies at traditional retail outlets this year, with only 8 percent planning to do so online, and 13 percent responding “don’t know/not applicable.” In all, 60 percent of parents say that it is a challenge to afford school supplies, while 57 percent of teens say it is challenging for their parents or guardians to afford school supplies. Conversely, 40 percent of parents and 43 percent of teens say affording school supplies is not a challenge. The survey of 1,204 parents of school-aged children and 1,000 teens was conducted by ORC International for JA.


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In all, 64 percent of parents expect to pay less than $500 per child on back-to-school items (clothes and school supplies), while 72 percent of teens expect their parents or guardians to pay less than $500.


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Only 17 percent of parents and 16 percent of teens expect that more than $500 will be paid, per-child, for school supplies. Parents and teens responding “do not know/not applicable” came out to 20 percent and 12 percent, respectively.


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When it comes to buying school supplies, 58 percent of parents plan to buy them from discount stores, while 11 percent plan to buy from department stores. Office supply stores (5%), warehouse clubs (3%) and “other stores” (1%) are also on the list of places parents and guardians plan to shop.


This report presents the findings of ORC International's Online and Youth CARAVAN surveys conducted among a sample of 1,204 parents of school-aged children and 1,000 13-17 year olds.  These surveys were conducted live from June 29 to July 6, 2017, for the parents’ portion and from July 11 to July 16, 2017, for the teens’ portion. Respondents for this survey are selected from among those who have volunteered to participate in online surveys and polls.  Because the sample is based on those who initially self-selected for participation, no estimates of sampling error can be calculated.  All sample surveys and polls may be subject to multiple sources of error, including, but not limited to sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording, and response options.

About Junior Achievement of North Florida

Junior Achievement is the world's largest organization dedicated to educating students about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs. Junior Achievement of North Florida has been operating in Jacksonville since 1963 and now includes a satellite office in Tallahassee. Through an innovative partnership between the business community, educators and volunteers, Junior Achievement of North Florida helps young people connect with relevant learning and the importance of staying in school. This collaboration resulted in 56,489 students reached during the 2015-2016 school year. To learn more about Junior Achievement of North Florida, visit


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