September 13, 2010

A Car is a Necessity

86%

An overwhelming number of Americans believe that a car is a necessity.

As has been the case since the question was first asked in the 1970s, an overwhelmingly number of Americans consider a car a necessity in life. Fully 86% say a car is a necessity, compared with just 14% who say a car is a luxury you could live without. In fact, asked to describe a list of 12 everyday consumer products as luxuries or necessities, more Americans describe a car as a necessity than any other item. This was also the case in Pew Research surveys conducted in 2009 and 2006, as well as in surveys conducted by Roper in the 1980s and 1970s. Cars, unlike some other products, have maintained their standing during the economic recession. While the proportion rating a car a necessity has declined slightly since 2006, prior to the downturn, when 91% said so, over the same time period, there was a far more substantial drop in the number of Americans citing air conditioning (from 70% to 55%), a microwave (68% to 45%) and a clothes dryer (83% to 59%) as necessities. Read More