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90 Examples of Human Needs

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Human needs are tangible and intangible things that sustain and enrich the life of a person. These are commonly arranged in a hierarchy of needs that include physiological needs, safety needs, belonging & love, esteem, cognitive needs, aesthetic needs, self-actualization and transcendence. This is a useful conceptual structure but arguably includes questionable assumptions. For example, Maslow's hierarchy of needs categorizes financial security as a type of safety such that it is viewed as a more basic need than things like friendship and family. This feels like a judgement call. The following are examples of human needs in an unstructured format.
Acceptance
Access to Outdoors & Natural Environments
Accomplishments
Aesthetic Life
Affection
Air
Bodily Integrity & Personal Sovereignty
Clean Air, Water & Environments
Clothes
Comfort
Community
Creative Expression
Cultural Life
Dignity
Doing Good
Emotional Development
Emotional Experiences
Emotional Safety
Empathy
Entertainment
Epic Experience
Exercise
Existence
Family
Financial Security
Free Assembly & Association
Free Expression of Ideas
Freedom
Friendship
Going to Bathroom
Growth
Health
Hygiene
Imagination
Independence
Information
Intimacy
Joy
Justice
Know-how
Knowledge
Life Experience
Light
Love
Mastery
Moral & Ethical Behavior
Movement
Music, Art & Literature
Parenting
Personal Reflection
Personal Security
Personal Space
Physical Intimacy
Play
Political Participation
Prestige
Privacy
Pursuit of Happiness & Goals
Recognition
Relatedness
Reputation
Resilience
Respect
Responsibility
Romance
Romantic Partnerships
Safety
Self-Realization
Sex
Shelter
Skills
Sleep
Social Acceptance
Social Belonging
Social Bonding
Social Interaction
Social Roles
Social Stability
Social Status
Spirituality & Religion
Talents
Temperate Environment
Thinking
Touch
Transcendence
Trust
Understanding
Water
Wellness
Work & Productive Life

Needs vs Wants

Needs are core motivations. Wants are things that we feel will fulfill needs. As such, these are essentially different manifestations of the same thing. You need food and you want breakfast cereal. It is common for educational materials to present needs as essential and wants as non-essential whereby they rank needs and claim that some are more important than others. This tends to produce questionable claims whereby one human need is presented as essential and another as non-essential by labeling it as a want. For example, school worksheets for children that claim that friendship is a want and a job and car is a need.

Summary

Human needs are things that a person needs to survive and to feel fulfilled in life. This ranges from basic survival needs such as the need for water up to high level social, cognitive and spiritual needs. These high level needs are inherently personal whereby people have different perspectives on what they need from the human experience and life.
Overview: Human Needs
Type
Definition
Tangible and intangible things that sustain and enrich the life of a person.
Related Concepts

Human Needs

This is the complete list of articles we have written about human needs.
Comfort
Community
Cultural Life
Economic Needs
Empathy
Entertainment
Epic Experience
Exercise
Family
Freedom
Friendship
Growth
Human Behavior
Human Experience
Human Needs
Imagination
Independence
Information
Justice
Know-how
Knowledge
Labeling
Life Experience
Light
Mastery
Needs and Wants
Play
Privacy
Resilience
Respect
Responsibility
Safety
Skills
Social Acceptance
Social Interaction
Social Roles
Social Stability
Social Status
Talents
Thinking
Trust
Understanding
Water
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