From Luxury To Necessity
From the kitchen to the laundry room to the home entertainment center, Americans are paring down the list of familiar household appliances they say they can’t live without, according to a new national survey by the Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends project. No longer do substantial majorities of the public say a microwave oven, a television set or even home air-conditioning is a necessity. Instead, nearly half or more now see each of these items as a luxury. Similarly, the proportion that considers a dishwasher or a clothes dryer to be essential has dropped sharply since 2006. Along with a new creed of thrift, there’s another factor — technology adoption — that appears to be shaping public judgments about some of these items. Take cell phones. A relative newcomer in the everyday lives of most Americans, the cell phone is among a handful of newer gadgets that has held its own on the necessity scale from 2006 to 2009. Moreover, it may have contributed to a drop in necessity ratings for the older-era appliances it has partially supplanted. Read and download a copy of the report here.