Difference between Growth and Development



The term growth and development are very often used interchangeably but it is worth while to keep in mind the distinction which is made between them or at least to understand why they are so often used together.

The term growth implies an increase in size. When a body or any of its parts is described as having growth it usually means that it has become large and heavier. It is thus that we speak of growth of arms, brain, muscles or the body in general.

Growth means increase or addition in size, height, length or weight and can be measured. Development means change in shape, form or structure so as to improve in working or functioning.

Development implies certain qualitative changes or changes in character leading to maturity of improvement in functioning. Arms grow large but also they develop by undergoing certain changes which equip them for better work.

The D ifferences between Growth and Development are given below:


1) Growth is used in purely physical terms; it generally refers to change in size, length, height and weight of an individual. Changes in the quantitative aspects come into the domain of growth.

2) Growth is one of the aspects of developmental process.

3) Growth describes the changes which takes place in particular aspect of the body and behaviour of an organism.

4) Growth does not continue throughout life, it stops when maturity has been attained.

5) The changes produced by growth on the subject of Measurement. They may be quantified.

6) Growth may or may not bring development. A child may grow (in terms of weight) by becoming fat but his growth may not bring any functional improvement (qualitative change) or development.


1) Development implies overall changes in shape, form or structure resulting in improved working or functioning. It indicates the changes in the quality or character rather than in quantitative aspects.

2) Development is a wider and comprehensive term; it refers to overall changes in the individual. Growth is one of its aspects.

3) Development describes the changes in the organism as a ' whole and does not list changes in parts.

4) Development is a continuous process.

5) Development implies improvement in functioning and behaviour and hence brings qualitative changes.

6) Development is also possible without growth as we see in the cases of some children that they do not gain in terms of height, weight or size but they do experience functional improvement or development in Physical, Social, emotional or intellectual aspects.