What’s a Necessity?

Interesting article exploring a Pew Research Center study about what Americans consider necessary. A car is at the top of this year’s list, followed by a clothes dryer (not a washing machine? Survey FAIL?), air conditioning, TV and a computer. It’s kind of an interesting study, especially since things have become a little less necessary since 2006.

I found a few things surprising:

  • People consider cable or satellite TV more necessary than a dishwasher. Seriously? Without a dishwasher how do you have time to watch all that TV?
  • Older people are much more likely to think a TV is necessary than younger people. So TV isn’t rotting our brains—in your face, old people! Of course younger people are much more likely to think cell phones are a necessity.
  • The richer you are the less likely you are to think TV is a necessity—until you hit the low end of the poverty scale where TV becomes less necessary. The same is true for a veggie garden. The very rich and the very poor don’t have time for TV or planting produce.
  • The survey also shows that 27% say someone in their household has been laid off or lost a job and 21% say someone in their household has had trouble paying the rent or mortgage.

Generalizations, of course, but ouch.

It’s interesting to consider what is necessary in your life. Some things are pretty easy decisions, like cutting the cable or Netflix. But other choices are harder—that car payment may be pricey, but if you ever find a job how are you supposed to get there without a car?

These discussions become a little more real in the light of comments like this one.

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