Authors define and explain the meaning of two concepts, namely human and social capital and their influence on the socio-economic progress in agriculture and rural areas. The presented studies and analyses point to the link between the growing role of these two factors and the general socio-economic progress. A major part of the paper is devoted to analysing the past and current state of human and social capital in Poland, focusing on their deficiencies and the need to improve their quality. In conclusion the authors note that the significant inflow of financial means after the the Polish accession to the EU as well as structural and administrative changes will not bring in full the possible benefits in the future unless there is an improvement in quality and an increase of creative participation of the human and social capital. The health aspect is also explored in the paper as a crucial element influencing human capital in the Polish rural areas.