The primary needs are the person's needs or requirements, which are determined by the factors to the individual is exposed to. These needs are linked to the survival of the human being: food, clothing, footwear, housing, health, etc.
All people need something that is necessary to maintain life and ensure well-being. For years thinkers like Aristotle considered human behaviour and their needs. Human needs change over time but the most important ones stay the same and human survival depends on them (K. Sopher, 1991).
Examples of primary needs
Primary needs are the basic necessities required for humans to survive. They include food, water, shelter, air, and clothing.
- Food: Food is the most important primary need as it provides the body with energy and essential nutrients.
- Water: Water is essential for the body to function properly, and to stay hydrated.
- Shelter: Shelter provides protection from the elements, and a safe place to rest.
- Air: Air is necessary for oxygen to enter the body, allowing it to process nutrients, and expel waste.
- Clothing: Clothing provides protection from the elements, and helps to regulate body temperature.
Primary needs should be used when considering the basic needs of humans in order to survive. They should be taken into account when assessing the quality of life, or when considering the impact of poverty. Primary needs are also essential for understanding the development of a nation, as they can provide insight into the resources available to its citizens.
Classification of primary needs
- Physical needs: Physical needs are those that are necessary to survive and maintain physical health. Examples of physical needs include food, water, shelter, air, and clothing.
- Psychological needs: Psychological needs are those that help humans to develop emotionally and mentally. Examples of psychological needs include love and acceptance, security, and self-worth.
- Social needs: Social needs are those that enable humans to interact with others. Examples of social needs include companionship, communication, and participation in meaningful activities.
Secondary needs are associated with the desire for pleasure and fulfilment: furniture or design articles, a luxury car, the latest and technologically advanced mobile phone, jewellery, etc.
Once the company recognises these needs, it can determine the type of the product or service they want to offer on the market. Even if particular items or services are not absolutely necessary for the person's survival, they are still desired and wanted.
Maslow's hierarchy of needs
Maslow presented his concept of the hierarchy of needs in his article published in 1943 ("Human motivation") and his later book, "Motivation and personality". This hierarchy suggests that people are motivated to meet basic needs before moving on to other more advanced needs.
As a humanist, Maslow believed that people have an innate desire for self-realization. However, there are many other needs that need to be fulfilled before achieving these ultimate goals, like food demand, security, love and self-esteem should be met (K. Cherry).
Maslow called the highest level of the pyramid a need for growth (also known as being the needs or needs B). Growth needs are not due to a lack of something, but rather from the desire to grow as a person (K. Cherry).
Maslow identified 5 levels of human needs:
- Physiological Needs
They cover the most basic survival needs, such as the need for water, food, air and sleep. Maslow thought these were the most basic needs in the hierarchy because until these physiological needs are met all the remaining needs become secondary.
- Security Needs
These include security needs. Security needs are important to survival but they are not as basic as physiological needs. Examples of security needs are, for example, the desire for permanent employment and health insurance, and secure neighbourhoods.
- Social Needs
They include the needs of love, belonging and acceptance. Maslow thought they must be less basic than physiological and security needs. Relationships such as romantic attachments, friendships and families help meet the need for companionship and acceptance, as well as a commitment to social, religious or community groups.
- Esteem Needs
After satisfying the first three needs, we feel the need for respect. The esteem needs include the desire for things that reflect self-esteem, social recognition and achievement.
- Self-actualizing Needs
These needs are at the highest level in his hierarchy. Thanks to self-realization people are aware, strive for personal development and are less concerned about the opinions of others, being interested in realizing their potential (K. Cherry).
Benefits of fulfilling of Primary needs
Primary needs provide humans with the essential resources necessary to survive. There are several advantages to having these needs met:
- Security: Meeting primary needs provides a sense of security, as individuals know that they can rely on these resources to stay alive.
- Comfort: Having access to basic resources such as food, water, and shelter increases comfort and reduces stress.
- Health: Meeting primary needs helps to ensure a person's health and wellbeing, as they can access resources that are necessary for their body to function properly.
Limitations of Primary needs
Primary needs are essential for humans to survive, however, they are not the only things required for a good quality of life. Other needs such as education, healthcare, and social interaction are also necessary.
- Education: Education is important for providing individuals with the skills and knowledge to become productive members of society.
- Healthcare: Healthcare provides individuals with access to medical care and treatment, and helps to protect against illnesses and injury.
- Social Interaction: Social interaction is essential for mental health, and helps to create meaningful connections with others.
There are many other approaches related to primary needs. These include emotional and psychological needs, safety and security needs, and social needs.
- Emotional and Psychological Needs: These needs include the need for love and companionship, the need for self-esteem, and the need for emotional support.
- Safety and Security Needs: These needs include the need for financial security, the need for physical safety, and the need for political stability.
- Social Needs: These needs include the need for social relationships, the need for belonging and acceptance, and the need for a sense of community.
- Cherry K., (2019) Hierarchy of Needs. The Five Levels of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
- Cherry K., (2018) How Maslow's Famous Hierarchy Explains Human Motivation Medically reviewed by a board-certified physician
- Gough I., (1991) A Theory of Human Need Macmillan
- Wilson T. D., (2000) Human Information Behavior University of Sheffield
Author: Paulina Byrska