Development is the process of growth, progress and positive change. It includes the addition of physical, economic, environmental, social and demographic components to a system. The purpose of development is a rise in the level and quality of life for the population, with the creation or expansion of local regional income and employment opportunities, without damaging the resources of the environment.
The United Nations uses the Human Development Index to measure a country’s level of development in three areas: life expectancy, adult literacy and school enrollment, and Gross National Product per capita. Developed countries have modern economies, with a diverse array of industries and services.
People in development work to improve the quality of people’s lives, whether they are helping families in developing countries with their food, medicine or housing. They may not see the direct impact of their work as it takes time for real changes to take place.
There are many different theories of development. Some believe that development is essentially the same for everyone, while others argue that individuals have a lot of power over their own development.
Theorists also differ on whether developmental change is continuous or discontinuous. Continuous development assumes that it is a gradual process of incremental growth, whereas discontinuous development views development as a series of distinct stages in which children and adults have unique qualities and characteristics.
Some people also argue that development is influenced by culture, a complex phenomenon that is often difficult to explain scientifically. Theorists believe that development is always shaped by multiple factors, including genetics and the environment, as well as the individual’s own experiences and behaviors.