Is there a consensus on 'necessities' ?

If we are to use survey results to build a picture of what the majority of people in N. Ireland believe to be basic necessities and then build this standard into a measure of poverty and deprivation, it would be useful to establish that there is indeed consensus on what items are 'necessities'.

If 68% of the population say that ‘A table, with chairs, at which all the family can eat’ is a necessity, is this view shared by young and old alike, by people of different community backgrounds, and by men and women? The survey results allow us to test for the degree of consensus across a number of social variables.

The approach taken in our research is to inform social policy with the evidence of what the majority of people regard as the basic necessities of life. Notwithstanding some significant differences, especially between young and old, there is a remarkable degree of consensus between social groups and categories across income, occupation, community background and gender.

The results of the N. Ireland Omnibus Survey module on the necessities of life show that , leads to a different set of indicators than those built in to current deprivation rates (such as the EU measure).