What Is Development?


Development is the process of bringing about change in people’s lives. It normally involves raising their living standards, increasing their self-esteem, and improving their freedom to choose and participate.

Development can take on a variety of pathways depending on the social and cultural contexts in which it takes place. Lifespan researchers believe that the path of human development is multiplicative determined by multiple biological, environmental, and societal factors.

The United Nations defines development as “the process of ensuring that all people enjoy the benefits of economic growth and social progress.” This includes sustained economic growth that is broadly based, with the goal of benefiting everyone; improved food, water, education, health care, housing, employment, sanitation, and environmental protection; and the promotion of democracy and human rights.

Despite advances in technology and trade, there are still many countries in the world that face difficult challenges. Especially those that have experienced political instability, natural disasters, and long-term domestic conflict.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is the world’s leading international development agency. We transform families, communities, and countries – to help them thrive.