Difference Between Micro and Macro

Micro vs Macro

Micro and macro are prefixes that are used before words to make them small or big respectively. This is true with micro and macroeconomics, micro and macro evolution, microorganism, micro lens and macro lens, micro finance and macro finance, and so on. The list of words that makes use of these prefixes is long and exhaustive. Many people confuse between micro and macro despite knowing that these prefixes signify small and large respectively. This article takes a closer look at the two prefixes to find out their differences.

To understand the difference between micro and macro, let us take up the example of micro and macro evolution. To signify evolution that takes place within a single species, the word microevolution is used whereas evolution that transcends the boundaries of species and takes place on a very large scale is termed as macroevolution. Though the principles of evolution such as genetics, mutation, natural selection, and migration remain the same across microevolution as well as macro evolution, this distinction between microevolution and macroevolution is a great way to explain this natural phenomenon.

Another field of study that makes use of micro and macro is economics. While the study of the overall economy and how it works is called macroeconomics, microeconomics focuses on the individual person, company, or industry. Thus, the study of GDP, employment, inflation etc. in an economy is classified under macroeconomics. Microeconomics is the study of forces of demand and supply inside a particular industry effecting the goods and services. So it is macroeconomics when economists choose to concentrate upon the state of the economy in a nation whereas the study of a single market or industry remains within the realms of microeconomics.

There is also the study of finance where these two prefixes are commonly used. Thus, we have microfinance where the focus is upon the monetary needs and requirements of a single individual where there is also macro finance where financing by the banks or other financial institutions is of very large nature.


Micro and macro are derived from Greek language where micro means small and macro refers to large. These prefixes are used in many fields of study such as finance, economics, evolution etc. where we have words like micro finance and macro finance, micro evolution and macro evolution etc. Studying something at a small level is micro while studying it on a large scale is macro analysis. Financing the needs of an individual may be micro financing whereas the financial needs of a builder requiring money for a very large infrastructural project may be referred to as macro finance.