Americans rate cars necessities above all else, but have been cutting car use - Pew research
By Peter Samuel
Americans are driving less because of the recession but a survey by the Pew Research Center show they still rank a car as the number one necessity of modern life. Driving less and eliminating "unnecessary" car trips has been one of the leading ways people say they save money, according to the poll (see bottom of this report.) Asked to say whether an item is a necessity or a luxury 88% say a car is a necessity compared to:
- 66% for a clothes dryer,
- 54% home airconditioning
- 52% TV
- 50% home computer
- 49% cell phone
- less for other items
Cars rate head and shoulders above other necessities
The 88% necessity rating is down from 91% in 2006, but other household items have fallen much further. Microwaves are down 21% points from 68% to 47% as a necessity, dishwashers are down from 35% to 21%, cable or satellite TV from 33% to 23%, clothes dryers from 83% to 66%, airconditioning at home from 70% to 54%, TV from 64% to 52%.
Americans are rapidly "falling out of love" with TV, they report.
The disdain for TV as a medium is strongest among the young.
The Pew Center opinion pollers describe the automobile as the "ultimate survivor."
"It's been around for nearly a century, but in good times or bad, it retains its pride of place at the top of America's list of everyday necessities."
The survey was conducted April 2-8 2009 with a sample of 1003 persons.