What does socio-economic development mean? In order to understand this concept, let us begin by defining development. Generally, development is defined as a state in which things are improving. But it is defined in different ways in various contexts, social, political, biological, science and technology, language and literature. In the socio-economic context, development means the improvement of people’s lifestyles through improved education, incomes, skills development and employment. It is the process of economic and social transformation based on cultural and environmental factors.
Socio-economic development, therefore, is the process of social and economic development in a society. It is measured with indicators, such as gross domestic product (GDP), life expectancy, literacy and levels of employment. For a better understanding of socio-economic development, we may understand the meaning of social and economic development separately. Social development is a process which results in the transformation of social institutions in a manner which improves the capacity of the society to fulfil its aspirations. It implies a qualitative change in the way the society shapes itself and carries out its activities, such as through more progressive attitudes and behaviour by the population, the adoption of more effective processes or more advanced technology. As you see in the illustration below, there is a close relation among environments, ways of living and technology. Economic development is the development of the economic wealth of countries or regions for the well-being of their inhabitants. Economic growth is often assumed to indicate the level of economic development. The term “economic growth” refers to the increase (or growth) of specific measures such as real national income, gross domestic product, or per capita income. The term economic development, on the other hand, implies much more. It is the process by which a nation improves the economic, political, and social wellbeing of its people.
Socio-economic development, thus, is a process of improvement in a variety of ways. It has to influence all aspects of human life in a country. But do you think the concept of socio-economic development takes care of all aspects of development? Its major indicator, the GDP is a specific measure of economic welfare that does not take into account important aspects such as leisure time, environmental quality, freedom, social justice, or gender equality. Another indicator, the per capita income also does not indicate the level of income equality among people. These indicators do not ensure that the benefits of development have been equally distributed and have reached particularly to the disadvantaged groups of society. Which is why a new concept of human development is being used. It is focused on the overall quality of life that people enjoy in a country, the opportunities they have and the freedoms they enjoy.