The Face of Urban Poverty: Explaining the Prevalence of Slums in Developing Countries

Ben C. Arimah

in Urbanization and Development

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780199590148
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595493 | DOI:

Series: WIDER Studies in Development Economics

The Face of Urban Poverty: Explaining the Prevalence of Slums in Developing Countries

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One of the most visible manifestations of urban poverty in developing countries is the proliferation of slums. While attention has focused on the rapid pace of urbanization as the major factor explaining the proliferation of slums, there are other factors whose impacts are not fully known. This chapter accounts for differences in the prevalence of slums among developing countries using data drawn from the global assessment of slums undertaken by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme. The empirical analysis identifies substantial inter-country variations in the incidence of slums both within and across the regions of the developing world. Further analysis indicates that higher GDP per capita, greater financial depth, and investment in infrastructure will reduce the incidence of slums. Conversely, the debt burden, inequality in income, urban growth, and the exclusionary nature of the regulatory framework governing the provision residential land contribute to the prevalence of slums and squatter settlements.

Keywords: developing countries; inter-country differences; slums; urban poverty; JEL classification; R21; R31

Chapter.  8588 words. 

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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