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Nature and Classification of Human Wants

Last updated date: 09th Apr 2024
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What are Human Wants?

Consider the situation, where we tell you to live in the same room throughout your life. However, we provide you with ample food, clothing, and all your demands. Will you be able to live your life that way? No, you won’t. You would want to get out and move around. That is the endless nature of human wants. We, humans, use many commodities in our daily life. However, while purchasing anything, have you ever wondered whether you want it or is it a desire. Right from the time of civilization, human beings have been relying upon several sources and elements. The survival of humans involves several wants, the most important being food, shelter, clothing, etc. With innovation and technology, the wants are ever-increasing. All of these are directly related to the economy. This helps in understanding the demand and supply of commodities.

Nature and Classification of Human Wants

Human wants are endless even when provided with every need. In terms of Economics, wants to refers to something that individual desires, which is not something that the individual cannot live without. Want is non-essential in nature. With changes in innovation and technology, wants are ever-increasing. Although wants are not needed to sustain life unlike needs, it helps to understand the demand and supply of various commodities.

Classification of Human Wants

Human wants can be classified into various categories depending on various bases in Economics, which are as follows:

  • Economic and Non-Economic wants

Want for things that can be bought by paying a price in money or currency are economic wants, such as they want for a diamond necklace.

Want for non-material qualities of human life such as peace, equality, acceptance, etc., are called non-economic wants.

  • Individual and Collective Wants

Individual wants refer to the wants of one specific person who may not be wanted by anyone else. Such wants vary from one person to another.

Collective want refers to those wants which are required by a commodity such as a hospital or a school. 

  • Necessities, Comforts, and Luxuries

Necessities refer to the want of products or services essential for survival. Examples of such wants are food, clothing, and housing. Out of these are the wants that improve the efficiency of humans and improve the quality of life such as food, better house, etc.

Comfort refers to those products or services that help in making life satisfactory. A human can live without these comforts but they help make life easier for them such as AC, cars, etc.

Luxuries are those products that provide humans with a sense of entitlement. They make humans feel better about themselves. These are products and goods that humans don't need but are mostly meant for showing off. Some examples are jewellery, expensive cars, electronic goods, etc.

The classification of human wants varies on several bases and these are as follows.

  • Economic and Non-Economic Wants: Economic wants are related to commodities and can be satisfied using money. While non-economic wants are something which money and goods cannot suffice, like peace, affection, etc.

  • Individual and Collective Want: Individual wants are those which are required by one specific person. For example, you want a school bag, you want to eat chocolates and such other wants. On the other hand, collective wants are those which are required by a community as a whole. For example,  a school, hospital, etc., are collective wants. Again, if you want your country to win the match, it is collective rather than individual want.

  • Necessities, Comforts, and Luxuries: Necessities are those commodities that are essential for human survival. These are the most important wants, including clothes, food, shelter, etc. Among the necessities are the wants which help in increasing efficiency. These include diet foods, a better home, etc. These are a result of the habits and customs of humans.

Comforts are those commodities that help in making life more satisfactory. These are neither necessarily required nor are urgent wants. One can also live without comforts. Some of these items include ACs, purchasing clothes for some special occasions, etc. Luxuries are goods and commodities that provide humans with a sense of entitlement. They allow humans to hold prestigious positions. They are expensive stuff and need not essentially be a part of our living. Some of them include cars, jewellery, and other commodities.


There are several characteristics of human wants, they can be stated as follows:

  • Iterative Wants: Some commodities in life are required on a daily basis which may not be essential for many other individuals. For example, insulin is only required by diabetic patients.

  • Changing Want with Age: Humans want different things at different stages in life. A kid would want to play with a toy while a teenager would want to play with a PlayStation.

  • Gender-Specific Wants: Gender plays a vital role in wanting different products. For example, want for a fancy dressing item will vary for men and women.

  • Geographic Variation of Wants: People living in hotter regions will want coolers and ACs but people living in hill stations would want temperature regulators. This type of want is quite self-explanatory.

  • Health Specific Want: People in need of medicines and medical facilities would want better access to facilities of services such as high-end health care facilities. Personal preferences or biases might also play a role here.

The nature of human wants varies depending on several parameters. These further describe the characteristics of human wants. Some of the characteristics are as follows.

  • Iterative Wants: Some commodities are required on a daily basis. These include food, water, and others. These fall under iterative wants. However, these vary from person to person. Example: Some need to take medicines on a regular basis, others don’t. 

  • Variation of Wants with Age: Adults have completely different wants from of kids. While a 25-year old wants a stable job and life, a 2-year old is satisfied and happy with toys. 

  • Gender Wants: Depending on their needs, likes, and dislikes, gender plays an essential role along with age. Example: Often girls would want fancy clothing, and boys will want to ride a bike. 

  • Geographic Variation Wants: For those living in northern parts, they would have a good room heater while those living in desert lands would want an AC. Geography plays an important role in what people want and why.

  • Wants vary with Health: Those who are fit, do not require any medicines, but for the unfit ones, hospitals and good nutrition are a want.

  • Endless Human Wants: Wants are ever-increasing at par with innovation and technology. Humans never get satisfied. The more you provide, the more they will consume and want. 


At the end of it all, the economy is completely related and revolves around human wants. It helps the government in understanding the demand-supply and chain. Are you wondering what are the prime reasons for the skyrocketing human wants? This is usually because of the following reasons.

  • Expectation and need for a better living. 

  • Increase in population with each passing day. 

These factors highly contribute to the ever-rising human wants.

Wants never end, the more you give, the more people want. This article helps you understand the types and characteristics of wants in a more elaborate manner. Look it up and understand the content thoroughly for your exams.

FAQs on Nature and Classification of Human Wants

1. Define want.

In Economics, want is defined as all the goods, services or products that humans desire or have aspirations for possessing. Wants may have no basis of demand and may be non-materialistic in nature. Sometimes the mere perception of the value of a product may make it desirable, thus, affecting the want of that particular commodity. 

2. How do human wants to affect demand and supply?

Want for particular products may increase its demand, thus increase in its supply. It may be season-specific or geography-specific as well as age-specific. For example, want for ACs increases in the summer season or in hot regions but will have no demand in colder regions or in the winter season.

3. What is the nature of want?

Wants are unlimited, some wants can be urgent or the need may be less intense. Human wants can be complementary in nature or can be dependent on the perception of the value of a commodity. The wants of a person constantly change according to time, place, and situation.

4. Is the Classification of Human Wants a Rigid Concept?

No, the classification of human wants is based on several parameters. A thing that is a  want for some can be a luxury for others. It completely varies from person to person. It also highly varies according to human satisfaction and adaptability. The more content a person is, the lesser wants they will be inclined towards. It is no harm to have wants, but it is essential to consider nature and the economy before fulfilling the demands.

5. What is the Importance of Human Wants?

Some of the reasons which make the human wants important are as follows.

  • For all economic efforts to take place, human wants are the starting point. They are the root of the economic activities to get started. Had there been no wants, there would have been no business or activities.

  • Economic activities are completely related to the satisfaction of human wants. Its main objective is to meet the standards of living. The higher the wants, the higher will be the living standard. Enhancement in industrialization: To meet the demands, the industries will have to progress and expand accordingly.

6. How Do We Classify Human Wants?

The classification of human wants is as follows.

  • Necessities

  • Comforts

  • Luxuries

The necessities are further classified into:

  • Necessities for existence

  • Necessities for efficiency

  • Conventional necessities

The luxuries are further classified into:

  • Harmless luxuries

  • Harmful luxuries