GeneralWords

Difference Between Needs and Wants

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Main Difference

The main difference between Needs and Wants is that Needs are defined as the basic things which are necessary for an individual’s survival, e.g., food, shelter, clothing, whereas Wants are defined as the things which are a person’s eternal desires, e.g., fancy food, a nice house, and branded clothes.

Needs vs. Wants

Needs are defined as the basic things which are necessary for an individual’s survival, e.g., food, shelter, clothing. Wants are defined as the things which are a person’s eternal desires, e.g., fancy food, a nice house, and branded clothes. The term ‘needs’ refers to a person’s essential requirement that must be fulfilled. Wants are the goods and services that are not essential for human survival but a part of his caprices. The needs are limited, and one cannot take them more than a specific limit. Wants are the desires; hence they are immense and unlimited.

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It would nearly be impossible for an individual to live without the needs. It is not impossible to live without the want because they just add comfort and luxury to a person’s life. The other word for needs is necessities, whereas the other word for wants is desires. Needs are the life requirements that remain the same and does not change with time. Wants are the goods that are individual desires or demands and that keep on changing.

The non-fulfillment or deprivation of needs has severe effects on a person’s existence. It can cause severe illness or even death. The non-fulfillment of wants does not have any negative impact on a person’s life or health. Needs are the same for all the individuals, while wants vary individual to individual. Needs are of two types, i.e., objective needs or subjective (physical) needs. Wants are of three types, i.e., physical wants, biological wants, and psychological wants.

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Comparison Chart

NeedsWants
The basic things are necessary for an individual’s survival are needs.The things which are a person’s eternal desires are wants.
Examples
Food, shelter, clothingFancy food, beautiful house, branded clothes
Non-Fulfillment
Has serious effects even deathNo severe effects but dissatisfaction
For Individuals
Same for all the individualsVary individual to individual
Types
Objective needs, subjective (physical) needsPhysical wants, biological wants, and psychological wants
Change With Time
Does not change with timeKeep on changing with time
Alternate Word
NecessityDesire
Limit
Needs are limitedWants are unlimited

What are Needs?

The needs are the things that are essential for a person’s survival on earth. The basic needs of human beings are housing, food, and clothing. But these were the needs in ancient times. According to the need of the hour, the needs are increased equally for all human beings. So the further needs include transportation, gas, water, education, electricity and the like.

Needs are defined as the basic things which are necessary for an individual’s survival, and that must be fulfilled. If the needs are not fulfilled, then it leads to serious adverse effects on a person’s existence, and it can cause severe illness or even death. The needs are limited and are not part of human caprice, so they remain the same throughout his life. An individual can’t live without the needs.

Needs are the same for all the individuals, i.e., all the individuals rich or poor need food and water to survive. The needs can be personal, cultural, psychological, and social. The fulfillment or satisfaction of one need is satisfied leads to the next level of need. Need satisfaction, according to psychology, is an ongoing behavior that determines the everyday actions of a person.

Types of needs

  • Objective Needs: The needs met through tangible things or the things that we can measure, e.g., food, water, shelter, air.
  • Subjective or Physical Needs: These are the needs that ensure our mental health, e.g., self-esteem, sense of security, and approval.

What are Wants?

Wants are the person’s eternal desires. These are the goods and services that are not essential for human survival but a part of his caprices. It is the immense and unlimited desires having no relation to a person’s survival but his luxury and comfort. It is not impossible to live without wants. The common wants of a person are beautiful house, branded or designer clothing, fancy food, higher education, traveling, different types of entertainment, hang out, gossip with friends, etc.

Wants keep on changing, and different wants have varying levels of importance. Moreover wants to vary individual to individual, e.g., one person may want a luxury car, while another may want a beautiful house. So each person has a different list of wants with a varying level of importance. Wants do not link to a person’s survival. Its non-fulfillment does not have any negative impact on a person’s life or health. However, its non-fulfillment leads to dissatisfaction.

Wants in terms of economics is something that a person wishes or likes to possess, either immediately or at a later time. In the business world, wants refers to the desires that are the cause of the production of such products and services that are demanded by the economy. It is accepted that human wants are eternal and unlimited, whereas the means which can satisfy those wants are limited.

Types of Wants

  • Physical Wants: Nice house, beautiful clothes, a nice car, etc
  • Biological Wants: Freshwater, fancy food, healthy living, etc
  • Psychological Wants: Family, friends, entertainment, etc

Key Differences

  1. Needs are the basic things which are necessary for an individual’s survival, e.g., food, shelter, clothing in contrast Wants are the things which are a person’s eternal desires, e.g., fancy food, a nice house, and branded clothes.
  2. The term ‘needs’ refers to a person’s essential requirement that must be fulfilled; on the other hand, the term wants refers to the goods and services that are not essential for human survival.
  3. The needs are limited; on the other hand, wants are immense and unlimited.
  4. It is impossible to live without the needs on the flip side; it is not impossible to live without the wants.
  5. The other word for needs is requirements, and necessities contrarily the alternate word for wants is desires.
  6. Needs remain the same and do not change with time; on the contrary, they want to keep on changing, and their level of importance also varies.
  7. Needs are of two types, i.e., objective needs or subjective (physical) needs while wants are of three types, i.e., physical wants, biological wants, and psychological wants.
  8. The non-fulfillment or deprivation of needs may lead to severe illness or even death on the converse; the non-fulfillment of wants does not have any severe impact on a person’s life or health; however, it leads to dissatisfaction.
  9. Needs are the same for all the individuals on the other side who want to vary individual to individual.

Conclusion

Needs and wants are the two concepts of economics. Both terms carry a different meaning that compels actions for satisfaction. The difference between needs and wants is based on their level of importance. Needs are about requirements and necessities while wants are about desires.

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Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson