What Is a Need?


A need is something that someone or something requires to be fulfilled. It is the opposite of a want, which is a desire for something. For example, you need to eat food to survive. You also need water to drink. However, you do not need to buy designer clothing. If you are going on a trip, you may need luggage. You may also need to rent a car, and you might need to get travel insurance.

A person’s needs can be classified as physiological, psychological or emotional. Psychologist Abraham Maslow developed a theory of human needs that includes deficiency and growth-oriented needs. His theory suggests that people must satisfy basic physiological needs such as food, shelter and safety before they can pursue higher-order needs such as belonging and self-actualization. Some psychologists have criticized the need hierarchy concept, and some have proposed alternative models of human needs.

In medicine, a need is a condition that indicates an underlying cause or risk of an adverse outcome, such as death. A health care professional’s judgment of a need is distinct from what a patient wants, which is often called demand. For example, a patient might desire a certain treatment, but it would not be a need unless the health care provider could confirm that the person will benefit from receiving it.

When someone says that something needn’t happen, they mean that it is not necessary. The phrase is also used to describe a situation where someone feels burdened or obligated to do something.

In business, a need can refer to a request for resources from a customer or client. A company can respond to a need by developing a new product or service that meets the requirement. The term can also be used to describe a requirement for a particular skill or qualification, such as computer knowledge.

There are many different ways to fulfill a personal need, such as taking a yoga class or reading a book. One might also choose to seek therapy or counseling. For instance, a person might feel the need to improve his or her relationship with a romantic partner. This can be achieved by talking with the person about his or her feelings and identifying needs.

Some colleges claim to be “need-blind” or “need-aware.” These are institutions that admit students without considering their ability to pay. However, many colleges can infer a student’s financial status from their application. Information such as parental occupation, home zip code and school district can hint at a family’s income. Furthermore, some colleges that say they are need-blind may not factor in tuition and other student fees into their cost of attendance estimates. As a result, some colleges that are need-blind actually end up filling their financial aid budgets by admitting rich students. This practice is sometimes called gapping.