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Difference Between Progress and Development

Progress vs Development

“Progress” and “development” are often used interchangeably. For many people, both words mean the same thing and present the same goal. However, progress and development have few differences in the details.

Familiar areas of both progress and development are: economics, science, business, land and geography, and history.

The word “progress” can be a noun or an intransitive verb while the word “development” can function as a noun, an adjective, and an adverb. In terms of definition, progress and development are closely related. “Progress” is defined as “a movement towards a goal” and defines two things – forward movement and upward directionality. The linear pattern denotes steady improvement.

On the other hand, development also indicates movement and growth. However, development is more on the scope of the movement. If progress has a linear or upward pattern, development is more focused on the expansion of all aspects and directions.

By comparing and contrasting both definitions, progress is a part of development. Development acts like a “big picture” with progress of every concerned area as one of its factors. Development also acts as a permanent change while change and growth in progress is short-lived and acts like a step to the next level.

When it comes to work and labor, progress and development are also different.
Progress is mainly concerned with the results of the labor. It can be said that progress is done by evaluating tasks which are done and what other tasks are needed to be tackled. From this viewpoint, it shows that progress isn’t a complete process, and there are still things left to be done.

On the other hand, development deals with the process. Development occurs when there is gradual growth, or the plan and internal growth enables it to work more effectively and efficiently. It also pertains to working smarter and not just harder. It primarily consists of thinking outside of the box, working with new techniques and procedures, as well as searching for new avenues and possibilities.

The economic side of progress and development are also different. Progress is upward growth in economic status; however, progress is still an on-going process. Development, meanwhile, is the aftermath and the effect of progress. In development, there is a human and social factor. It measures whether how much of society benefited from the economic growth or progress.

In a way, development and progress have a symbiotic or a two-way relationship. If there is internal development, whether in a group or in an individual, it can affect the status of progress in work or in a plan.


1.“Progress” and “development” are similar but not exactly alike. Progress denotes a picture of a straight and upward movement while development favors the depiction of wholesome growth in all aspects and sides.
2.Development deals more with a wholesome activity while progress deals with the particulars of the same action. In short, progress contributes to development.
3.Progress deals with the current status of the activity which includes the tasks done and the undone tasks while development also looks at the current status but on a macro level.
4.Progress is part of the development. Development is the wholesome approach or status of a particular activity whether a plan or a project.
5.Progress and development is also reflected in work and the individual. Progress is concerned with the results while development deals with the process. Progress looks at the end of labor and the evaluative results while development concentrates on the methods and techniques.
6.Economic progress and development also are relative concepts. Progress is seen as the economic growth of a country while development refers to the distribution of progress to the members of society.

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  1. very helpful to me.

  2. Thanks a lot for a nice distinction =)

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