adequate living

Understanding Human Rights: How Much Is Considered as “Adequate”?

Food, water, shelter, and clothing – these are referred to like 4 of the physiological needs of human beings apart from air and sleep. Basic needs refer to things that are essential for survival, and fulfillment of these basic needs is considered a human right.

Therefore, as human beings, each one of us is entitled to these regardless of our economic status, race, ethnicity, religion, and other labels that tend to create human distinction. In order to understand this better, we have to identify what adequate means.

An Overview on “Right to an Adequate Standard of Living”

The right to an adequate standard of living refers to one’s entitlement to adequate amounts of food, clothing, and shelter. This human right is also recognized in international human rights instruments.

The fulfillment of this depends on several economic, social, and cultural rights which include the right to employment, the right to own a property, the right to proper education, and the right to have social security.

One of the proposed policies that can help guarantee the “right to a basic and adequate standard of living” is by implementing a basic income guarantee which provides all citizens a basic level of free monetary support to supplement daily basic needs like food and shelter. 

What is the concept behind the term “adequate”?

The term adequate refers to a level of quality that meets one’s standards and needs. It also means acceptable and satisfactory based on particular standards.

For this reason, the term “adequate” is highly subjective. When we say adequate food, it means enough food that can spare us from hunger. Adequate water refers to just enough water that can keep us from being thirsty and dehydrated.

Adequate shelter means a roof above our heads that can keep us safe and warm. And adequate clothing implies having something to wear to cover our bodies and keep us from getting exposed. 

Given all these ideas, it is apparent that economic status has a major influence on the term “adequate”. What may seem like enough for some people may not even come close to satisfactory for others.

Just the same, the quantity and quality of basic needs for the upper class greatly varies with that of the lower class. Therefore, the term “adequate” is highly debatable especially in this modern age and time wherein people have a different level of needs in order to keep up and to survive. 

Exercising Your Right to Adequate Food, Water, Shelter, and Clothing

fight for your minimum

Although the term “adequate” is highly subjective, it can easily be identified and related in modern everyday living. For instance, if you’re currently employed and receiving regular compensation, you can exercise your “right to an adequate standard of living” by choosing to live within your means. This is the only way to get enough. 

Here’s a scenario; if you’re receiving a specific wage as a salary, you should closely align and prioritize your needs based on your income in order to cover all aspects and to have “enough” for your basic needs.

Needless to say, the manner in which you sustain your basic needs if you’re on minimum wage should not be leveled with someone who is earning a higher wage because basically, you don’t have the same amount of resources. To have adequate food, water, shelter, and clothing, you should spend within your means. 

One example is choosing a shelter for your family. If you’re going to browse through the properties Miami website, you would see a number of options ranging from the most affordable house all the way to the most extravagant estate.

If you want to exercise your right to an adequate standard of living, you would naturally choose a property that fits your income with enough left to cover other basic needs such as food, water, and clothing. In this case, “adequate” shelter could mean a house that you can afford to pay based on the number of your resources.


The right to an adequate standard of living can be highly subjective because basically, it is influenced by one’s economic status. However, it can easily be understood if you’ll take into consideration your available resources and level of income while learning how to prioritize your basic needs based on these aspects.

Apparently, anyone can survive by simply learning how to live within the means and by keeping the choices of food, water, shelter, and clothing aligned with the resources at hand. And, everything will make sense after that. 

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