A Want vs. A Need

Difference Between A Want and A Need As far as the ownership and attainment of things are concerned,…

Difference Between A Want and A Need

As far as the ownership and attainment of things are concerned, the terms ’want’ and ’need’ is used in place of one another. Their uses sometimes make us feel that the two have the similar meaning if not the same. However these two cannot be more different from each other.

According to what economics preach, ‘need’ is something that is utterly necessary for one to keep on living. In case a need is not met, it will lead to inconvenience, the person cannot live properly in society and even death can be caused. There are two types of needs- subjective and objective/physical needs. The needs that can be met with measurable things like food, materials, shelter, money etc are called objective needs. On the other hand those needs like example honesty, self-respect etc, that help to maintain our mental health are called subjective health. Ian Gough who used to be a political professor defined 11 needs that must be met to maintain a healthy life style.  If these needs are not met, the person cn even suffer from illness or even die.

However want is something that is desired by someone. The wants of a person may differ from person to person. As for example, one person wants a villa in Los Angeles, while the other may want a Dodge Viper. Every one has their own wants which can be changed after a while unlike the needs which remain constant.

However the confusion takes place when the want transforms into such a strong obsession that the want appears like a need. If the answer to the question’ Can you live without this?’ is yes then it is a want, if the answer is a no, then it is a need.


Both are economic terms.

A need is necessary for survival; however a want is a desire that one plans to fulfill in times to come.

If a want is not met the person can survive normally, however if a need is not met, then a person may as well suffer from illness and even die.


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