Several approaches are used to define the development and disparities of settlements. The investigation of four settlements in the County of Hajdú-Bihar, such as Balmazújváros, Hortobágy, Tiszacsege and Egyek, suggests that previous methods using few indicators are not suitable enough to measure economic, social and ecological development. My starting point was the complex index of the Hungarian Central Statistical Office (HCSO). I examined the economic, ecological and social development of the communities by separating the 19 indicators and determined that complex indexes or indicators hide the real consideration of the main functions of rural development and opportunities for comparison in a community level. Furthermore, I established that the 19 indicators were not enough to analyse the situation, in this way I raised the number of indicators. I used more indicators, altogether 116 ones, than the previous research. I handled these indicators from economic, ecological and social aspects and carried out a method development. While only Egyek and Tiszacsege were considered to be backward according to the complex index of the HCSO, even Balmazújváros and Hortobágy proved to be lagged behind from economic and social aspects on the basis of my calculations. The methodical development justified the hypothesis that few indicators are not suitable for establishing decisions objectively. New developmental ranges evolved. Using this method this method, determining development may be more realistic and may contribute to strengthening decisions in rural development and help in spreading financial subsidies.