What Is Development?


The term “development” is most often used in the context of economic growth. Economic development refers to an increase in GDP and a decrease in poverty levels. But development can also mean changes in a country’s culture or politics.

Generally, development describes improvements in people’s well-being. But it can be measured in other ways as well, including changes in social mobility and access to public services. The development of a nation is a complex task, and many countries struggle to meet their development goals.

Human development is the scientific study of change and stability across multiple domains of psychological and social functioning, including physical and neurophysiological processes, cognition, language, emotion, personality, morality, and relationships with others. The field of human development, sometimes called developmental science, is guided by assumptions about what causes changes in humans, known as meta-theories.

Some of these assume that humans are passive participants who react to external forces, while others assume that humans have an active role in shaping their own development. In addition, some researchers believe that there are certain periods of time, such as adolescence, in which human beings must confront particular crises to become mature adults. Others think that these experiences are less common than we might expect, and that they can be influenced by culture and other factors.

The field of human development is highly interdisciplinary. It draws on the theories, research methods, and knowledge bases of many different academic disciplines.