According to a recent Pew poll, the number of things that Americans say are necessities has grown.


Some of these goods, such as home computers, are relatively recent information era innovations that have been rapidly transformed in the public's eyes from luxury toward necessity.

But other items - such as microwave ovens, dishwashers, air conditioning for the home and car, and clothes dryers - have also made substantial leaps in the past decade even though they've been fixtures on the consumer landscape for far longer.

So, the Q of the day -- what do you consider essentials and luxuries?

I really could get by without most of these things (having been one step from homelessness at one point in my life), I'd have to say...

Essential

1. Car: If I lived in an area with a good mass transit system like NYC, I could cross this off my list, but I don't.

2. A/C: This is a contentious one for many, however, here in NC it gets hot as hell with 99% humidity in the summer. I have yet to experience a fan that can cool off a room once you've had 90+ degree weather for several days in a row. It's sheer misery (and can be deadly). I lived without A/C in NYC, and it can be pretty bad in the heat of a city summer, but it doesn't last as long as the onerous heat waves down here. I do, however, prefer opening the windows to get fresh air most of the year until it is intolerable (hot or cold).

3. Washer/dryer: I've done the laundromat thing back in the day. It sucks.

4. High speed Internet/Computer: Obviously I don't need either of these to survive, but I certainly wouldn't thrive as it's my main conduit to the outside world, not to mention my "second job" as blogmistress.

5. TV: I watch less and less of the idiot box, actually. Mostly for cable news in the AM or evening, L&O: SVU, an occasional movie. That's about it.

Luxury

1. Cell phone: I really don't spend time on the phone. I rarely text. I only use it for emergencies, quite frankly, or as a PDA (my calendar is on it). I think my cell got its biggest workout when I was covering the DNC in Denver.

2. Microwave: another device I use sparingly, mostly to boil water for a cup of tea.

3. Dishwasher: this is a nice thing to have, but I lived without one until six years ago, so clearly I can do without it.

4. iPod and flat screen TV: Come on; how can these be a necessity for anyone?

H/t Chris @ Americablog.