The Luxury of Indoor Plumbing

In today’s modern era most of us equate living without indoor plumbing with living in the Dark Ages. We are vaguely aware that a leaky faucet is a definite first-world problem, but America is such a strongly first-world country that we don’t really think twice about it. But perhaps it’s time to look again. The Washington Post recently released an article with some shocking statistics. Fully 1.6 million Americans live without indoor plumbing in their homes:

Counties Without Indoor Plumbing

1.6 million Americans don’t have indoor plumbing. Here’s where they live

The Pew Research Center’s excellent FactTank blog reported Tuesday that the Census Bureau is considering dropping a number of questions from its American Community Survey. The ACS has been a perennial…

Not surprisingly some of the areas that are more commonly without running water are the Indian reservations and places Alaska. But Texas also has a number of people without it. At least fourteen counties in Texas have a population with at least 2% being without indoor plumbing:

Texas areas still lack indoor plumbing

The next time you find yourself complaining about a leaky faucet or a toilet that won’t stop making that running sound, consider yourself lucky. There is a segment of the American population that might not even have those things. …

Perhaps surprisingly to many of us, some people actually choose to live without running water, preferring a simpler, cheaper, and more rugged lifestyle:

Whether by choice or by necessity, many Alaskans still without running water

Trista Crass has been without running water for 10 years, and she is just one of many across the Last Frontier living without an amenity most residents of industrialized nations take for granted. According to a state economic trends analysis published…

Nevertheless, the fact that a few people voluntarily live without running water does not make the statistic of 1.6 million people any less shocking. The question we must ask ourselves now is, what are going to do about it?


Rachel is a graduate from Grove City College, where she studied Communications, English, and Theatre. She currently has a plethora of unrelated jobs, of which blogging from the comfort of her bedroom is one.

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