Fact from the article: “At the start of the 1970s, only 31% of households had more than one car, according to the U.S. Census Bureau; more than a quarter had no vehicles at all. By 1995, 60% of households had more than one car and only 8% were carless.”
My Explanation: Many households are dual income, which often require two cars for transportation.
Fact from the article: “We ate at home. …even as food costs have dropped, the portion of our budgets we spend on eating out has grown considerably.”
My Explanation: Similar to the above explanation, with both adults working full time, there’s less time to cook at home. The solution, out source the job to a restaurant.
Fact from the article: “We vacationed closer to home, too. U.S. airlines weren’t deregulated until 1978, and before then flying was a pricey proposition.”
My Explanation: There’s not really much to explain, flying is cheaper now, so people are able to spend a little more and get far better value. It’s also worth noting that in the world of the Internet it’s easier to make friends far away and want to visit them. Additionally one can “tour” far away destinations easier online, so we know what we were missing now. I believe that we’ve decided that we don’t want to miss it anymore.
Fact from the article: (Paraphrased) We spend more on entertainment expenses. “TV was free; most people picked up stations with an antenna attached to the roof.”
My Explanation: In the 1970’s it was possible to watch your favorite sports team on free television. New Englanders have to pay for cable to watch the Red Sox now. If I want to watch them from California, it will cost an addition $160 a year for a special package. In the 1970’s that antenna attached to the roof gave pretty good reception. Today, in my apartment where I can’t attach antenna’s to the roof, I need cable or satellite television to get what people got for free in the 1970’s
Fact from the article: 3% of the people surveyed considered an iPod as a necessity.
My Explanation: How many people considered turntables, radios, or 8-track tape players necessities in the 1970s? We aren’t given that data, but I’m betting more than 3%.
See living larger and living differently part 2, for more thoughts and conclusions on how we’ve changed.