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Andy:
from "Luxury or Necessity? The Public Makes a U-Turn," by Rich Morin and Paul Taylor, Pew Research Center, 23 April 2009 :: via Floyd Norris

No longer do substantial majorities of the public say a microwave oven, a television set or even home air conditioning is a necessity. Instead, nearly half or more now see each of these items as a luxury. Similarly, the proportion that considers a dishwasher or a clothes dryer to be essential has dropped sharply since 2006.

These recession-era reevaluations are all the more striking because the public’s luxury-versus-necessity perceptual boundaries had been moving in the other direction for the previous decade. For example, the share of adults who consider a microwave a necessity was just 32% in 1996. By 2006, it had shot up to 68%. Now it has retreated to 47%. Similarly, just 52% of the public in the latest poll say a television set is a necessity—down 12 percentage points from 2006 and the smallest share to call a TV a necessity since this question was first asked more than 35 years ago.