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close this bookBasic Facts on Urbanization (HABITAT, 2001, 21 p.)
View the documentAbout
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentGeneral Demographic Trends
View the documentThe Growth of Large Cities
View the documentThe Economics of Cities
View the documentUrbanization and Feminization of Poverty
View the documentThe Challenge of Adequate Housing
View the documentHomelessness
View the documentUrban Violence
View the documentEnvironmental Deterioration
View the documentAccess to Services and Basic Infrastructure
View the documentChildren in the Urban World
View the documentSustainable Urban Development
View the documentGlobal Campaigns on Security of Tenure and Urban Governance
View the documentNotes
View the documentList of References


1. Habitat Agenda, paragraph 99 (United Nations, 1996a).

2. Habitat Agenda, paragraph 7 (United Nations, 1996a).

3. United Nations, 1996c.

4. The regions referred to are - with two exceptions - identical to those used in UNDP, 1998a: In this booklet, Turkey and Cyprus are grouped together with what UNDP, 1998a refers to as 'Arab States', to form a region called here 'North Africa & Middle East' (rather than with Europe, as all other European countries are grouped together with the 'industrial countries').

5. Natural population growth is defined as the number of people being born, less those who die in a given period. It excludes that part of the population growth/decline which is due to rural-urban migration. It also excludes the urban population change due to the reclassification of settlements (from rural to urban). The data in the table should be treated with caution as they are based on the assumption that population growth rates in urban and rural areas are the same. Yet, if we assume that natural growth rates in urban areas are 5 or 10 per cent lower than those for the total population, natural population growth for the two periods in question would still be nearly 50 per cent, e.g. 48 or 45 per cent respectively.

6. Data are based on United Nations, 1996c.

7. UNDP, 1990, p.86.

8. UNCHS (Habitat), 1996b.

9. ILO, 1998, pp.463-481.

10. UNCHS (Habitat) and ILO, 1995.

11. The regional data in UNCHS (Habitat), 1998, are based on averages for cities in each region (regardless of the representativity of the cities in the sample). Figures for 'industrial countries', 'developing countries' and 'world total' are based on the regional figures and weighed against the urban population size of each region (according to United Nations, 1996c) or the number of urban households in each region (according to UNCHS (Habitat), 1996a), to remove a regional bias in the sample of cities.

12. UNCHS (Habitat), 1990, p.7.

13. People living in 'income poverty' are defined as those with an income of less than US$ 1.00 per day, measured in 1985 dollars at purchasing poverty parities, or roughly $1.50 per day in 1997 in the United States of America.

14. The figures in this table use slightly different regional definitions. World Bank data include Iran and Malta in North Africa & Middle East (rather than in Asia & Pacific as elsewhere in this booklet); Turkey and Cyprus in Europe (rather than in North Africa & Middle East); and Somalia, Sudan and Djibouti in Sub-Saharan Africa (rather than North Africa & Middle East). For UNDP data, see note 4.

15. Given the recent financial crises in Asia, Brazil and elsewhere, this might be an optimistic scenario. According to UNDP it was feared that poverty in Indonesia would increase from 11 per cent to 20 per cent; e.g. an increase of 18 million new poor. Other estimates indicate that poverty in Indonesia would reach 40 per cent of the total population; e.g. an increase of some 60 million new poor. Furthermore, UNDP estimated that some 6.5 million urban workers in Indonesia were in danger of losing their jobs in 1998. In the Republic of Korea one million workers faced the same uncertain future (UNDP, 1998b, pp.50-51).

16. Beijing Platform for Action, paragraph 48 (United Nations, 1996b).

17. Habitat World, 1998, citing UNICEF.

18. UNDP, 1990; and World Bank, 1988.

19. Between 1970 and 1985, the absolute number of people living in poverty in urban areas increased by 73 per cent, or nearly twice the rate of urban population growth (which was 47 per cent). During the same period the number of rural poor increased by 22 per cent (rural population growth was 22 per cent in the period) (United Nations, 1989). World Bank figures indicate that the number of urban poor in 1985 was about 328 million, as compared to 718 million in rural areas (World Bank, 1988). This implies that 27.4 per cent of the new urban dwellers were added to the ranks of the urban poor during the 1970-1985 period, as compared to 24.7 per cent of the new rural dwellers. If a similar trend held true for the 1985 to 2000 period this would imply that the number of urban poor increased by some 216 million, reaching a total of some 544 million urban poor in 2000. If projections that the number of urban poor would outnumber the rural poor by the year 2000 is to be believed (World Bank, 1988; and UNDP, 1990) this would imply a total of at least 750 million urban poor in the year 2000.

20. Programme of Action of the World Summit for Social Development, paragraph 19 (United Nations, 1995).

21. UNCHS (Habitat), 1996a, p.109. See also UNCHS (Habitat), 1996b.

22. Beijing Platform for Action, paragraph 22 (United Nations, 1996b); and UNCHS (Habitat), 1996b, p.12, citing Chant, 1995.

23. UNCHS (Habitat), 1996a, p.12, citing Chant, 1995.

24. The poverty data presented in the table are based on locally defined 'income poverty' lines.

25. See also UNCHS (Habitat), 1999, p.21.

26. UNCHS (Habitat), 1996a, p.114.

27. The incidence of urban poverty in high-income and transitional economies is estimated at 10 and 20 per cent respectively.

28. Habitat Agenda, paragraph 60 (United Nations, 1996a).

29. UNCHS (Habitat), 1990, p.2.

30. Mwaniki and CBS (Kenya), 1993, p.21.

31. 'Permanent structures' are defined as 'the percentage of dwelling units which are likely to last twenty years or more given normal maintenance and repair, taking into account locational and environmental hazards (e.g. floods, typhoons, mudslides, earthquakes).' (UNCHS (Habitat), 1995, p.52).

32. 'Housing in compliance' is defined as 'the percentage of the total housing stock... which is in compliance with current regulations (authorized housing).... Only housing which both has a clear title to the land on which it stands, and which is constructed with all required building, land use, or land subdivision permits should be regarded as in compliance.' (UNCHS (Habitat), 1995, p.53).

33. United Nations, 1993.

34. UNCHS (Habitat), 1996a.

35. UNCHS (Habitat), 1996a; and United Nations, 1996c.

36. The data in the table are based on the following three assumptions: 1: Due to the current lack of comprehensive urban household projections, data are calculated on the assumption that household sizes in urban areas are 5 per cent less than that of the total population (which implies that they are 10-15 per cent less than that of the rural population). UNCHS (Habitat) is currently preparing a new version of its household projections, which will include data on urban and rural areas. 2: One household equals one housing unit. 3: Average annual housing need equals: a) the total of the average annual increase in number of households; plus b) 5 per cent of the total number of households inadequately housed in the year 2000 (e.g. remove shortage by 2020); plus c) 1.5 per cent of the total number of adequate housing units in the year 2000 (e.g. average life span of an adequate housing unit estimated at 75 years). It is important to note that the average annual housing need is affected only to a limited degree by the current scale of housing poverty. This is so partly because two-thirds of the need is due to increases in the number of households. It is also because an increased estimate of the volume of inadequate housing leads to an increased need for replacing inadequate stock, but a reduced need to replace future deteriorating stock. For example, if the estimate of urban dwellers living in inadequate housing is reduced to 525 million (i.e. based on the percentage living in permanent structures, see table 8 and note 31), average annual housing needs during the next two decades would be 32 and 36 million respectively (i.e. less than 10 per cent lower than the estimates presented in table 9).

37. UNCHS (Habitat), 1996a, p.229.

38. UNCHS (Habitat), 1996a, pp. 229-230, citing Avramov, 1995.

39. United States, 1994, p.2.

40. UNCHS (Habitat), 1996a, p.230 (it does not state for which year these figures apply), citing McLaughlin, n.d.

41. UNCHS (Habitat), 1996a, p.123.

42. See for instance: Bauer and Raufer, 1998, pp.27-33; Body-Gendrot, 1998, pp.161-162; and Falletti and Debove, 1998, pp.166 & 207.

43. UNCHS (Habitat), 1996a, p.124.

44. UNCHS (Habitat), 1996a, p.144.

45. UNCHS (Habitat), 1996a, p.264, citing Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, 1992.

46. UNCHS (Habitat), 1996a, p.264, citing Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, 1993.

47. Data from UNICEF, 1999, have been recalculated to correspond with the regions used in this booklet, based on population data from United Nations, 1996c.

48. UNCHS (Habitat), 1996a, p.268.

49. UNICEF, n.d.

50. Werna, and others, 1999.

51. UNICEF, 1992, p.57.

52. Habitat Agenda, paragraph 51 (United Nations, 1996a).

53. OAU, and UNICEF, 1992, p.182.

54. UNCHS (Habitat), forthcoming. The study was commissioned by the UNCHS (Habitat) Community Development Programme (CDP) and undertaken by the Institute of Social Studies together with seven national research teams. The conclusions are based on surveys of 900 households, 120 community leaders and 90 government officials in select settlements and cities where CDP maintained operations: Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ghana, Sri Lanka, Uganda and Zambia.

55. UNCHS (Habitat), 1988; and United Nations, 1996a.