Needs vs. Wants: What Is the Difference Between Needs and Wants?

Do you know the difference between a need and a want? This article will explain the meaning, difference and show you some examples of needs and wants in life.
Needs vs. Wants: 8 Key Differences, Pros & Cons, Examples

Needs vs. Wants: Needs and wants are words that are mostly used interchangeably in our daily life routine. Although these two words may be used as synonyms in some cases, there is an important difference between needs and wants, especially when it comes to finance and economics. A need is an essential requirement for survival, while a want is just a desire that is not necessary for living or survival. This is the major wants and needs difference.

Let’s take a closer look at Needs vs. Wants

NatureThe nature of need is limited, while wants are unlimited
RepresentsNeeds represent the necessity while wants, desire
SurvivalNeeds are essential to be fulfilled for survival, while wants don’t
ChangeNeeds remain constant over time while wants can be changed with time

What Are Needs?

What Are Needs? Needs are the basic requirement that is essential to be fulfilled to survive. In other words, needs are things you cannot do anything without. For example, the basic needs of human beings are oxygen, water, and food. And without these needs, human survival is impossible. Moreover, some other needs are required by humans to live a healthy life, like health care products, shelter, clothes, and working tools.

Needs are the basic requirement that is essential to be fulfilled to survive. In other words, needs are things you cannot do anything without. For example, the basic needs of human beings are oxygen, water, and food. And without these needs, human survival is impossible. Moreover, some other needs are required by humans to live a healthy life, like health care products, shelter, clothes, and working tools. Failure to fulfill these needs can result in dangerous side effects. It can cause mental or physical illness, which can result in death.

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What Are Wants?

What Are Wants? Wants are things a person desires or likes to have, but those are not necessary for survival. Every person has different desires or wants. For example, some want a big house and car; some want to have a foreign trip and some branded clothes and hang out with friends. Wants can be changed with time.

Wants are things a person desires or likes to have, but those are not necessary for survival. Every person has different desires or wants. For example, some want a big house and car; some want to have a foreign trip and some branded clothes and hang out with friends. Wants can be changed with time. Like someone wants to have a good job when young, but after some time, he wants to start his own business rather than a job. Failure to fulfill wants doesn’t cause any physical side effects, but it can disturb the person mentally.

8 Key Differences Between Needs and Wants

ComponentsNeedsWants
DescriptionNeeds are things that a person should fulfill in order to surviveWants are the things that a person only desires to do for his own satisfaction
NecessityNeeds are very necessary because, without these, survival is not possibleOne can love without fulfilling the wants, but it can make life more comfortable
CategorizationThere are two main categories of needs: subjective and objective physical.Wants are also categorized into two groups: luxuries and comforts
SatisfactionOne can only get satisfied after fulfilling the needsA person can get satisfied only by thinking of his wants or desires
CompetitionThere is no competition in needs, especially when it comes to basic human needsWants are mostly competitive; they compete against one another for satisfaction
IntensityNeeds don’t vary in intensityDifferent wants have different intensities
PostponementsNeeds cannot be postponed like healthcare would be needed when it is required.Wants can be postponed; if a person wants a car, he can buy it when he has money.
FailureFailure in fulfillment of needs can result in deathNot fulfilling the wants can cause mental health issues

Needs vs. Wants Examples

Examples of Needs

  • Food
  • Water
  • Shelter
  • Clothing
  •  Medical products
  •  Heat
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Example of Wants

  •  Car
  • Television
  •  Branded clothes
  •  Perfumes
  • Watches

Needs vs. Wants Economics

The need and wants definition in economics are quite simple: need in economics is necessary for survival, while a want In economics is something a person desires to have, which he may or may not obtain. Economics deals with allocating resources, which may be the needs of some people and the wants of others. For example, a farmer of barley has two customers; one wants barley to make beer, and the other needs it to make bread to eat. In this, bread is more important because bread is the healthier option. 

Human Needs and Wants

Human basic needs are food, clothes, and shelter. And without these basic needs, the human body can not work properly and can die, for example, food, clothes, and shelter. On the other hand, human wants are the things that a person wishes and desires to have but are not necessary for survival. For example, a toy, expensive shoes, or recent electronics.

Needs vs. Wants Pros and Cons

Needs Pros and Cons

Needs Pros and Cons

Pros of Needs

  • Needs are necessary for the survival of human beings; these needs can help man in improving their performance.
  • Needs can help people to achieve certain things in life. Because if needs are fulfilled, men can do anything he wants

Cons of Needs

  • When the physiological needs of humans are not fulfilled, it can cause severe illness and death.
  •  When safety needs are not met, or an individual does not feel love or belonging, it can lead to depression and anxiety.

Wants Pros and Cons

Wants Pros and Cons

Pros of Wants

  • Wants can motivate a person because the feeling of wanting will strongly propel you in the direction of your desire.
  •  Wants something with all of your heart, and then getting it feels so much better than having something on a silver plate.
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Cons of Wants

  •  If the wants or desires of a person aren’t fulfilled, then it can result in mental health issues like stress and depression.
  • Sometimes, a person wants something so eagerly that he adapts the wrong paths to fulfill his desires, resulting in dangerous circumstances.

Comparison Chart

Do you know the difference between a need and a want? This article will explain the meaning, difference and show you some examples of needs and wants in life.

Comparison Video

Difference between Needs and Wants

Needs vs. Wants FAQs

How Are Wants and Needs Similar?

Needs and wants are similar because both are important for improving the quality of life and providing mental peace.

What Needs and Wants Might Be Specific to Certain Employers?

The needs of employers are fair wages, job security, work-life balance, and career growth. At the same time, the employer’s wants may be to have an individual to increase their organization and brand.

What Needs and Wants are Hard to Answer?

Some needs and wants like highways, security, and schools are hard to meet or answer.

What Are the Needs and Wants in Economics?

In economics, need is something essential to survive, while a want is something that a person desires to have.

Conclusion

Wants and needs are two different terms that have different meanings, but in some cases, both of these terms are used interchangeably. The word needs or wants; both are used for necessities sometimes. But the main difference of needs and wants is that needs are basic necessities for survival while wants are just desires a person wishes to have. A person cannot survive without needs like water, food, or shelter. But without fulfilling wants, a person can survive easily.

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