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The Pew Foundation does fascinating (to me at least) public opinion surveys.  I ran across the results from a survey on necessities versus luxuries – which only includes, unfortunately, a few household appliances and electronics.  Oddly to me, the percentage of people who view a car as a necessity dropped from 93% to 91% from 1996 to 2006.

Out in the country, a simpler life: Rural residents are less likely than those who live either in the city or the suburbs to view these 14 items as necessities. Of people living in rural areas, fully a third say just 0 to 5 of these items are necessities, compared with 23% of those in cities and 24% of those in suburbs. This difference holds even after controlling for income and internet use.

Here’s the list, in order of perceived necessity:

Clothes washer
Clothes dryer
Home air conditioning
TV set
Car air conditioning
Home computer
Cell phone*
Cable or satellite TV
High-speed internet*
Flat screen TV*

We don’t have cable or satellite, a flat screen TV, or an iPod.  We rarely use our clothes dryer, air conditioning, microwave, dishwasher, and cell phones.  I could live without everything else except the car, computer, and high-speed internet, although a washer comes close to essential.

Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. - Howard Thurman.

RSS Weather at Clarksburg, Clarksburg Benedum Airport, WV – via NOAA’s National Weather Service

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