Social Indicators Research

, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 249-271

First online:

Testing Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs: National Quality-of-Life Across Time

  • Michael R. HagertyAffiliated withGraduate School of Management, University of California, Davis

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Maslow's hierarchy-of-needs theory is used to predict development of Quality of Life (QOL) in countries over time. Previous data sets have not had sufficient power to test these development trends among countries. Therefore a new database was developed that includes annual quality of life time-series for 88 countries from 1960 to 1994, covering measures on all five of Maslow's need-levels. Results showed significant agreement with some of Maslow's predictions, including his sequence of need achievement, and parts of an S-shaped trajectory in QOL. However, his mechanism of growth – that countries must slow growth in one area to increase growth in another – was disconfirmed.