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Difference Between Growth and Development

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Growth and development are two words that often get confused with one another. People often confuse these two words and use them interchangeably when they should not be used at all. There is a difference between them, so let's break it down. Development is what makes an entity better or more effective while growth is what increases the size, number, strength, etc., over some time. In this blog post, we will look at some differences between growth and development to help you get clearer with these two terms.

What is Growth?

Growth often refers to a quantitative increase over time and the amount of change that occurs during this period varies depending on what we are talking about.

For example - If you take your company from 50 employees to 100 employees then you have experienced growth because 50 more employees were added to the existing headcount of 50. Another example would be if someone started with $50 growing their bank account by only $20 each month until they have reached a balance of $100. This is also called growth because their account balance has increased by $50 in comparison to where it was initially.

What is Development?

Development refers to making something better or more effective than its current state, oftentimes through a process of change over time that results in improvement and refinement. It typically involves the application of effort with an aim toward increasing effectiveness or improving efficiency while taking into consideration different variables such as cost versus benefit, technical design specifications, safety standards, etc.

For example - A Car company improving the existing model of an SUV that already has a successful track record in the market. Another great example would be if you were working on creating a product line of toys that was more advanced and sustainable than the current products on the market right now.

Differences between Growth and Development

Difference in types

There are different kinds of growth, but only one kind of development. The most common type of growth is quantitative. Because it occurs when something increases by a certain amount or number over time which can be seen and measured. For example - An increase in headcount from 50 to 100 employees.

There is only one kind of development and it refers to making something better or more effective through a process that results in improvement over time which cannot be measured by how much was developed during the period of change. For example - A company improving an existing SUV model with new features & technology without increasing its overall number of vehicles.

The difference in what it affects

Growth can affect many things while development only has an impact on one thing: a process to make something better or more effective while taking into account different factors.

For example - In a company, growth could affect the number of employees and how much revenue is brought in each year whereas development would only affect one area or process within that company. Development can be targeted at anything from building safer cars to creating new products or services, etc. But is mainly focussed on one area at a time.

Difference in value

Growth can be both positive or negative depending on the circumstances and how it affects everything around it. It can be seen as positive or negative, depending on what you're measuring and who is affected by that growth. For example - A country like China reporting negative growth in terms of population compared to early years.

Development however always has a positive impact because development's main purpose is to make something better. Therefore development is for the most part positive & if it is negative it isn't considered to be a development.

For example - A software that gets better in terms of development as & when a new version is launched.

Comparison Chart: Growth Vs Development

Can be measuredMore effectivelyLess effectively
Can be negativeYesNo
Is always positiveNoYes
NatureQuantitativeQuantitative & Qualitative

Similarities between growth & development

There are some similarities between growth and development. Both of them are necessary to calculate & evaluate the progress of an individual or an organization. Both need to happen at any given time to ensure the success of any project.

Another similarity is that both of these processes require effort which will result in improvement over time and refinement to be effective! If you put no effort towards either process it's not going to work or achieve the desired outcome. You can't have growth without development and vice versa because they both complement one another!


Which is more complex?

Development can be more complex. Growth requires less effort than development, but the result of growth is not always effective or efficient. This could lead to additional effort eventually having to go into that process for it to work effectively! The development will always require more effort because it's refining & improving upon something whereas growth is making something bigger.

Can we achieve growth without development & vice versa?

We can achieve growth without development but it will not be effective or efficient because there is no refinement being done to it since growth & development go hand in hand with each other!

Even development can be achieved without significant growth but more often than not both happen at the same time. Growth precedes development and both of them often occur simultaneously but one always has a bigger impact than the other - which one depends on what it affects.


The most important takeaway from this blog post is that growth and development are two different things. Growth occurs when you're trying to get more of the same thing, whereas development involves a change in your environment or goal-setting. We hope this blog was able to help you differentiate between the two.


Feel free to comment and discuss about the article in the comment space below if you have any information or remarks to add. If you think we made a mistake, you can also report it there.
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About the Author: Tom Vincent

Tom Vincent graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics and social studies. He then started his higher education at the University of François Rabelais in Tours with a DUT Information Communication. To expand his knowledge, he also followed a professional degree in e-commerce and digital marketing at the Lumière University of Lyon. On this project, he is in charge of articles covering language, industry and social.
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