Growth vs. Development

Difference Between Growth and Development


The process of physically increasing in size and length is called ‘growth’, while the process of transforming positively or moving from one stage to another in a pattern that shows improvement, be it social, physical or social, is what we call ‘development’.

Two English words that appear to be the same and cause some confusion to some are ‘growth’ and ‘development’. These words, however, differ greatly from each other in terms of meaning and usage.

Growth literally means the actual increase in an object or organism’s size. We say: “The dog has grown greatly in size”. Development, on the contrary, means an enhancement in level of functionality. For example, we say: “He developed into a really good engineer”. It may also mean the alleviation of a medical condition, such as when we say “His health condition has developed a lot since his operation”.

Growth is also not limited in describing physical growth. When we say that the country’s economy has grown, we don’t really see the economy growing physically. The same is true when we say that the crop yield of the year has grown compared to last year. There is an increase here in number of produce, rather than actual growth in size.

‘Full Growth’ is a related term that conveys a sense of maturity, such as when we say: “Our investment has reached full growth”. Industries developing at a rapid rate are often called “growth industries’, while an increased capital value is called ‘growth stock’; a term commonly used in stock markets.

The word ‘development’, as was mentioned, may mean the process of gradually transforming into something better. The ‘process of photograph development’ describes how a dull negative gradually transforms into a better, colorful photograph. When we say ‘developing agricultural land’, we know that it means the land is being improved and transformed into something more useful.

To sum it all up, ‘growth’ simply means an increase in size and number while the more complicated ‘development’ involves a gradual transformation that consists of certain changes wherein the original finally comes out as something better in certain aspects.