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Difference between Need and Want

Difference between Need and Want

Every living being on this planet has some materialistic necessity. Human beings, birds, animals, plants, trees, insects, bacteria and viruses; all of these want something to survive. If anyhow their needs have been fulfilled, they are absolutely satisfied. But is this really true?

Food, water, oxygen and shelter are the utmost essential things for the survival of animals and birds. In the unavailability of these elements, they can’t survive.

Water, sunlight, air and soil are commonly most essential elements for plants and trees to survive. They will die, if in the unavailability of these basic elements.

Bacteria, fungi and viruses are completely dependent on others life. They need other bodies like humans, animals, soil, plants etc to survive.

There is a very common proverb, we all listen since childhood; that is,

Food, cloth and shelter are essential material for human beings to survive. It means if you have these three materials, it seems like a world to you.

In case of every life on this planet except humans (animals, birds, plants, bacteria and viruses ;) if their needs have been fulfilled, they are absolute at peace.

If anyhow, you are able to diminish the hunger of lion or any other animals; they do not search for hunting anymore.

But this is not applicable for humans. Humans are the only creature on this planet who can’t be satisfied even after their needs have fulfilled. Human beings have too many desires and they are being restless in the search of more for their entire life.

For the sake of our own happiness, first we have to understand what are need and want?

What is Need?

 Everything which is essential for the survival and due to lack of these essential elements, the life will die.

These are extremely important material for living life in healthy manner. Needs may be physiological, psychological, safety, social and cultural.

Before evaluation, when are ancestors lived in the forests and caves, at that time there was only three basic need; food, cloth and shelter.

By the passage of time some more necessities have included in this list. That is education and healthcare.

For the living a good lifestyle, these two items are also required. You can’t even image a good lifestyle without these basic elements.

Examples of Need: Food, water, air, shelter, cloth, healthcare, education, relationships, family, safety and security; all these are basic needs of life.

  • It is the individual basic requirement of life that must be fulfilled for survival. These are the things you must have.
  • If someone’s fundamental requirements could not be fulfilled, he/she may cause health issues, disease or even death in extreme cases.
  • Needs are almost similar for every creature. It doesn’t matter; they are animals or human, they are girl or boy, they are rich or poor. Needs are same for every life.

Types of Needs:-

 According to the requirement at every aspect, needs may be divided into different categories. Let’s understand these types of needs:

  1. Psychological Needs:

These are the needs which are essential for the body. It is requirement of body, that’s why it known as Biological Needs. Without these basic requirements, our body may cause ill, serious disease or even death.

These needs are food, water, air, shelter and reproduction.

  • Social Needs:

You have heard this so many times,

“Human is a social animal.”

It means animals and as well as need other bodies around them. Love, affection, family, friendship, relationships; all these are social needs.

We all are looking for acceptance by the groups, because it is the basic need of us.

‘To love someone’ and ‘to be loved by someone’, this is the most essential emotion in life. These emotions are human’s biggest strength.

  • Safety Needs:

At the ancient time, people live in the groups. In the forests, living in a group was more secured. They lived together, hunted together and fight together.

That’s why we all are always looking for safety and security in life.

  • Cultural Need:

The language you speak, the cloth you wear, the rituals you follow, the festivals you celebrate; all these are influenced bydiverse culture. These are the part of cultural need.

Here’s a important thing is cultural needs are only essential requirement for humans. These are not the part of animal’s need.

  • Spiritual Need

Spiritual needs are also only need of human existence. It may include questioning about meaning of life, all the beliefs, faith and knowing the self. This is the process of self exploration.

But very few human addresses these needs and ask questions to self.

What is want?

Want term is almost similar to the ‘Wish’. Wants are like a wish that a person would like to possess.

Wants are the desires, which are endless. All wants are materialistic.

One more important thing about want is; only humans are driven by their wants and live their entire life in restlessness. No other creature has desires in their life. That’s why you might be observed when their (all the animals) stomach is full, they are at peace.

Examples:The luxurious cars, a brand new Smartphone, a big house, high bank balance, a high pay cheque; all these are wants which is related to materials.

  • Wants are not only related with materialistic things, but also related with power, position and fame.
  • As like there is no end for wishes, similarly wants are endless. If your life is driven by desires, then you will always feel unsatisfied with life.
  • Having too many desires lead to unhappiness and emptiness. It is like a loop, the more you want, the more your hunger increase.
  • Wants are long-lasting. It means if you have a desire to buy your own home, and in case you will get it.

But in few days you will be get bored with this. Again a new desire have come into your mind, that now you want to buy a house bigger than the older one.

Distinguish between Need and Want:-

It is individual’s choice, but understands the difference between need and wants is necessity for living happily.

S. No.NeedWant
 1Needs are the most essential requirements of life.Wants are related to the desires. Wants are basically wishes.
 2Needs are limited. Once need get fulfilled, they demolish.Wants are endless. There is no end of wants.
 3Food, water, shelter, family, cloth, education, language etc all these are needs.Money, luxurious lifestyle, car, fame, power; all these are wants.
 4Needs are the part of physiological process.Wants are totally psychological.
 5Needs are constant. They don’t change with the time.Wants are temporary. They have changed with the time.
 6In the unavailability of needs, we can’t survive.There isno issue at all, related to the survival.
 7After the fulfilment of needs, our body and mind have relaxed and peaceful.In the process of chasing desires, we become more hollow and restless.
 8Needs are same for every creature.Every individual have quite different desires from each other.
 9They are simple urges, that pop ups when you body really need it.Wants are like a loop in which human have trapped.
 10These are related with the materialistic things, that we need.These are taking space in you.


Everyone should know the difference and also knowing the limits of needs, is also important. Because in most of the cases, needs changes into desires and desires changes into more desires.