Latest survey: what consumer goods Americans can live without

Posted: April 28, 2009 in society
Tags: , ,

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Source: Free exchange

An interesting addition to my post on Is Obama serious about saving the planet? The Pew Institute just released a survey titled Luxury or Necessity? The Public Makes a U-Turn (this survey just looks at the US population).

Of course, luxury and necessity are very relative terms, and the current economic disaster reflects that fact in the survey with sometimes surprisingly steep declines for consumer items on the necessity ladder (like cloth dryers, aircons and TVs). But there are also interesting long terms trends in comparisons between 1973/1983 and 2006 where cars and dishwashers and dryer ratings remain pretty unchanged.

But what is important right now is that economic pressure hitting the hip pocket seriously makes people think about what their real needs are and therefore what they can do without. And interestingly enough the trend to thrift by and large is not just driven by those most affected by the recession/depression; cutbacks and new evaluations are often made across the demographic board.

Unfortunately though one thing has not changed: American’s love affair with the car; it has remained solidly glued to a spot around the 90% mark since 1973. This would be an area where an American president could truly start a radical change campaign, one which could seriously contribute to saving the planet, but such a president hasn’t shown up yet.

Below are the graphs from the survey; for a better and more complete understanding of the results and their interpretation visit the survey’s web page.

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