Poverty in Karachi
Karachi is Pakistan’s largest city and is the capital of the Sindh province located in southern Pakistan. Karachi is home to a major seaport on the shores of the Arabian Sea as well as massive commercial and industrial infrastructure. Increased development of air travel, in addition to the foreign traffic maintained by the commercial and financial industries, has made this city important to the overall economy in Pakistan. Regardless of these achievements, the city still faces poverty, which these facts about poverty in Karachi will illuminate.

Facts About Poverty in Karachi

  1. District governments within the city of Karachi do not have the power to increase taxes, which could be used to rectify local issues there. The Provincial Administration maintains the power instead of the taxpayers or the constituent electorate, which creates a democratic deficit within the metropolis.
  2. In regards to such a deficit, there is a notable underperformance in urban development. Foreign business is the largest part of the industry and economy in Karachi. Because of this, the Provincial Administration puts an emphasis on financial districts and expensive urban building for such purposes.
  3. A majority of tax revenue goes towards the seaports, airports, franchise business, stock brokers and telecommunication systems. The emphasis on finance and business distracts from the local problems. Most of the citizens live with social injustices daily, but their tax money is not being used to solve these problems.
  4. In Karachi, residents suffer from congested roads and poorly planned yet expensive public transportation systems. There is effectively no low-cost housing in the city, which has led to the rise of slums. There is also a shortage of water, leaving many without access to water at all, or at least water that is safe to drink.
  5. Many farmers located in the rural parts of the metropolis are deprived of water from irrigation systems. A large percentage of farmers have turned to using water that is mixed with sewage lines in an effort to grow crops. However, the produce that is harvested is often polluted and unsafe for human consumption, an unfortunate truth in the facts about poverty in Karachi.
  6. Policies geared towards the rapid industrialization of Pakistan had aimed to bring the country to its “take-off” stage. These policies, in retrospect, have actually made the rural lower class even poorer. More than ₨. 1 trillion (about $14.6 billion) was spent on infrastructure with the intention of lowering the local poverty rates in Karachi. Due to poor governance and irresponsible planning, much of this money was wasted and inflicted more economic harm on the lower-class citizens.
  7. There is a lack of access to social services and resources in poor households. Fifty percent of the rural population has been left without land, while approximately 75 percent of urban dwellers work in the informal economy.
  8. There are now more than 600 slum areas in Karachi. These slums are notable for hosting criminal activity as well as hiding criminals. In 2014, following the aerial firing on the Karachi airport, the suspects were found hiding in a local slum. Slums like Afghan Basti, Manghopir, Pehlwan Basti and Sohrab Goth are some of the better-known slums hosting criminal activity within Karachi.
  9. According to Inspector General Mushtaq Mehar, approximately 65 percent of the Karachi population lives in a slum. Residents of the slums are typically issued official identity papers, yet it remains difficult to verify and monitor them as many give false information. This makes it challenging to track down the criminals who may be hiding there.
  10. Despite these circumstances, there are many locals who are fighting back against poverty. UNDP’s Youth Employment Project provides employment opportunities as well as job training in the textile/garment industry. Around 30 percent of Karachi’s population is made up of youths aged 15-29. There are more than 5,000 students enrolled in this program. Initiatives such as this help those who cannot afford schooling to receive a valuable education and eventually earn a dependable source of income.

In his paper “Genesis of Urban Poverty”, Tasneem Siddiqui writes: “Poverty was not just about money. It is about access to power. It is deprivation not only in economic terms, but also at the social and political level.” The people of Karachi face this lack of access on a daily basis, one of the driving facts about poverty in Karachi.

The emphasis on business and finance in the city in order to better benefit Pakistan’s foreign affairs has harmed the local community. In doing so, there is a large gap in the socioeconomic ranks. Initiatives like UNDP’s program work to make the best of the given situation; however, until the governing authorities rectify the social and physical injustices, the citizens of Karachi will continue to suffer from this gap.

– Emma Fellows
Photo: Flickr

Addressing Poverty in Kenya
In a country that has a plethora of wealthy individuals who make use of the coastal regions and beautiful landscape, the rate of poverty in Kenya still remains at 46 percent of the population. With an increase in assistance from the government and those who are living a lavish lifestyle, this issue could be drastically improved in a short period of time.

Addressing Poverty in Kenya

According to Buzz Kenya, “In Kenya, the slums are next to the posh neighborhoods. The rich people depend on the poor for housekeeping, yet they pay them peanuts even though they are fully aware of their situation.”

There needs to be accountability for wealthy individuals to accommodate those doing housework. If the wealthy paid their workers at a higher rate instead of on average $1 a day, poverty would not be resolved but it would definitely help the issue tremendously.

Even access to resources that most people take for granted are considered a “luxury” in particular parts of Kenya; these resources can include healthcare, education and clean water. The Kenyan government is working on a solution that would greatly help poverty-stricken communities obtain the necessary assets to sustain a healthy lifestyle.

The government and concerned citizens have the ability to better a developing nation.

International Affairs Budget

There are multiple methods of assistance that the government provides and the people can act upon. The International Affairs budget is one part of legislation that is available to the people. By supporting the International Affairs budget, aid will be provided to countries around the world that need the most help.

Assistance can come in the form of fighting diseases, supplying emergency care throughout the nation and promoting hunger-relief and stability in the economic system abroad.

Contributions to efforts such as the International Affairs budget allows for more workers to be employed in the country and continue to develop new and improved ways to figure out how poverty can ultimately and eventually become eradicated.

Causes of Poverty in Kenya

Poverty is a result of many factors in a nation-state; for instance, unemployment, lack of clean water and people from other countries migrating over with absolutely nothing.

“In June 2011, Kenya faced formidable hurdles with the Horn of Africa drought that left 3.75 million Kenyans and 150,000 refugees mostly from Somalia, in need of humanitarian assistance.” Refugees also contribute to the rate of poverty in Kenya.

UNICEF was able to contain the situation and efficiently provide support for not just Kenyan citizens but also the refugees from Somalia and South Sudan.

Land, Agriculture and Future Progress

Urban areas are not as much of an issue when it comes to poverty. Slightly less than a third of Individuals living in urban areas are below the poverty line, while approximately half of Kenyans living in rural locations are considered impoverished.

Kenya-Advisor states, “around three quarters of Kenya’s population is dependent on the agriculture industry, but with its erratic weather patterns and vast regions of arid desert, it is a very unstable sector. Periods of drought can be crippling, not only in terms of food supply, but in jobs as well.”

With so many people relying on agriculture for their main access of food supply, this can lead to an overuse of the land that can poison the soils and no longer provide the nutrition that Kenyans need.

Also, it can impact wildlife due to the uneven distribution of agricultural resources and has the potential to influence climate change. With the diversification of funding that the government and the people have the ability to provide, there will be a severe decline to the rate of poverty in Kenya and a subsequent new outlook on this emerging nation.

– Matthew McGee

Photo: Flickr

facts about costa rica slums

With nearly 21 percent of Costa Rica’s population lived below the poverty line in 2016. In a July 2017 report, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency reported that Costa Rica’s population was at 4,930,258 and over one million Costa Ricans currently live in poverty. The following 10 facts about Costa Rica slums focus on two of its major slums: Triángulo de Solidaridad and La Carpio. These 10 facts about Costa Rica slums also touch on the appearance of residents’ homes and the government’s role in their maintenance.

 

10 Facts about Costa Rica Slums

  1. Triángulo de la Solidaridad, one of the capital’s best-known slums, is now a tourist attraction. Slum residents guide visitors and Costa Ricans through the slum in order to provide them with a new perspective on the country’s consistently high poverty rate.
  2. Roughly 2,000 people— more than 520 families— live in Triángulo de la Solidaridad.
  3. Triángulo de Solidaridad is located off Route 32, just north of downtown San José. Residents must cross the highway daily as they walk to and from work.
  4. Costa Rican slums appear colorful because their improvised homes are made of tin, wood and other scrap materials.
  5. Triángulo de la Solidaridad, because it is located along the highway, conflicts with Circunvalación Norte— a project that expands the belt route connecting eastern and western sectors of San José. The Housing Ministry must notify and relocate families who live in the community.
  6. La Carpio is one of Costa Rica’s least known slums, but it may very well be one of the worst. The slum is a remote section of San José located between two polluted rivers and the city’s landfill. Over 30,000 residents are packed into La Carpio.
  7. La Carpio and Triángulo de la Solidaridad were both founded by Nicaraguan refugees. The majority of their residents are undocumented immigrants who are often ignored by the Costa Rican government.
  8. Over the past 20 years, La Carpio has established schools and a medical clinic, water and sewage connections, cement floors and paved roads.
  9. A few students from La Carpio are set to graduate from high school and attend university— a milestone for the community.
  10. La Carpio residents can either walk across a bridge or take a bus to get to work. The bridge is a rickety suspension foot-bridge that stretches across the Rio Torres, but residents still opt for this dangerous route to save the 45 cents bus fare.

As evident in the preceding 10 facts about Costa Rica slums, slums may become tourist attractions that offer visitors a new perspective on living below the poverty threshold. Tourists that are exposed to poverty may seek further education on the subject in an attempt to eradicate it.

– Carolyn Gibson

Photo: Flickr

Poverty Rates in IraqIn 2010 the poverty rate in Iraq was on the decline, showing a decrease from 23 percent to 19 percent in 2013, according to Iraq Ministry of Planning spokesperson Abdul Zahra al-Hindawi. However, the current war with the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) has caused a significant number of people to flee from the northern and western parts of the country.

After the war in Iraq, the county was left decimated by poverty. Prior to the Iraq war the percentage of Iraqi people living in slums was approximately 20 percent. At the end of the Iraq war that percentage dramatically rose to 53 percent due to structural damage to many facilities and the mass displacement of civilians.

Following the crippling of its economy and infrastructure, Iraq worked to rebuild and to reduce its poverty rate, which was considered by most to be alarmingly high. However, entering the vacuum created by the withdrawal of U.S. troops emerged another enemy in the war on poverty, the Islamic State. In 2014, the poverty rate of the country resurged to 22.5 percent, almost eclipsing the progress that had previously been made.

After examining the poverty rates in Iraq, it becomes clear there are two main contributors to the rise of poverty in unison with the emergence of ISIS: the need to divert funding to fighting ISIS, an overarching lack of cashflow, and the high poverty rates within ISIS-controlled territory.

With the continued presence and aggression seen from ISIS, the Iraqi government has been forced to divert a significant portion of its funds to anti-ISIS military measures. This has hurt the Iraqi people by diverting funds that could otherwise be invested into state-run aid programs meant to further the fight against poverty.

In a uniquely contrasting situation, 99 percent of government revenue in Iraq is produced by the country’s oil sector. The oil sector only employs around 1 percent of the country’s population, however, leaving the remainder of the Iraqi economy to struggle to fill the remaining gap. Due to the sharp decline in the price of a barrel of oil, the country revenues have sharply declined, most noticeably felt by the construction industry.

The head of services and construction provincial committee Ghalib al-Zamili explained that the “fiscal deficit has led to the freezing of most of [the] infrastructure projects” in Baghdad. In total, this adds to “more than 750 infrastructure projects that have been halted.”

Territory occupied by ISIS also faces heightened levels of poverty in comparison to the rest of the country, significantly anchoring the poverty rates in Iraq. Poverty rates in regions controlled by ISIS are reported to be 41 percent in comparison to the already-high 22.5 percent seen in the rest of the country.

Numerous issues that have caused the poverty rates in Iraq to significantly increase. While some of the issues present require prolonged military action to resolve, such as the presence of the Islamic State, others can be and should be a focal point of U.S. foreign aid spending.

Garrett Keyes

Photo: Flickr

Live in Slums
Between 2000 and 2014, the percentage of the urban population in developing countries who lived in slums decreased from 39 percent to 30 percent.  While these statistics are encouraging, the bottom line is that the number of people living in slums continues to grow. Globally, 828 million people live in slums today. This fact means that one in eight people in the world suffers from poor living conditions.

A slum, as defined by United Nations Habitat, is a household that may suffer one or more of the following conditions: lack of access to water protected from outside contamination, lack of access to sanitation facilities that separate human waste from human contact and lack of adequate living area (more than three people living in one room of four square meters minimum).  These conditions also include a lack of housing durability (the structure must be on non-hazardous land and must be able to withstand extremes in climate) and a lack of security of tenure (protection by the state to ensure the unlawful eviction of inhabitants of homes).

For the first time in history, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities. However, urban areas only account for three percent of the earth’s land. Over 90 percent of urban growth is occurring in developing nations. The increase of people living in cities can predictably rise to 60 percent in 2030 and to 66 percent by 2050.

There are approximately 200,000 slums throughout the world. Mexico City is the home to the largest slum in the world. The Neza-chalco-Itza province began developing in the early 1900s and today houses roughly four million people. A younger slum in Karachi, Pakistan is only ten years old and houses 1.5 million citizens over 22 square miles.

Some other large slums include Mumbai, India, where Dharavi houses one million people in one square mile. The slum of Khayelitsha began after abolishing apartheid in South Africa and grew since the 1980s to 2.4 million people. Fifty percent of its inhabitants are under 19 years old. Kibera, the second largest slum in Africa, has the highest population of more than 200 slum dwellings located in Kenya’s capital city of Nairobi. 2.5 million people dispersed amongst these 200 slum dwellings represent only six percent of the land in the city. Kibera houses 250,000 of these people.

Urbanization is a key focus under the United Nation’s Sustainability Development Goals. The eleventh goal on this list is to make cities and human settlements more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. The task of establishing anti-poverty measures and reducing global poverty can improve the urban areas where the slums reside. When the poor no longer have to live in slums, their quality of life will improve.

Jene Cates

Photo: Flickr


As the population in India continues to increase steadily, so does the number of people living in slums. The country’s 2011 census revealed that the slum population currently stands at 65 million people, up from 52 million in 2001. 2,613 of India’s 4,041 towns are classified as slums. In the territory of Delhi, where capital city New Delhi is located, 1.8 million of the 22 million residents live in 22 slums.

The India census defines the term “slum” as an area resided in yet unsuited for human habitation. These places are deemed unfit if they are a hazard to human health and safety due to lack of space, ventilation, cleanliness and other factors. These areas also lack hygienic drinking water facilities, functional bathroom areas and plumbing.

The Delhi slum population lives day-to-day without the basic amenities of electricity, plumbing and gas. Most of the residents are unemployed or daily wage workers, making less than the equivalent of one U.S. dollar a day.

In the 2011 census, slums are categorized in three different subgroups – notified, recognized and identified. Notified and recognized slums are legally established, while identified slums do not hold official slum status by the Indian government. The residents living in identified slums do not have access to legal protection and civic services.

Identified slums must have a population of at least 300 people with 60-70 tenements. Over one million of the growing Delhi slum population reside in identified slums and receive no aid from the government.

With the drastic population increase of the slums, the few resources these areas have are becoming even more depleted and run down.

However, not all of the census’ findings are negative. During the 10-year period under review, the Indian slum population grew at a rate slower than the general urban population. The average household size in slums is no larger than the average household size of urban areas. Slum literacy rate rose from 72.2 percent in 2001 to 77.7 percent in 2011. This is still below the overall Indian literacy rate of 84.1 percent.

WaterAid India is an organization that works to help some of the main issues the growing Delhi slum population is facing: lack of water, sanitation and hygiene, abbreviated as WASH. WaterAid aims to increase Delhi’s access to WASH through deliveries, supporting communities to manage and monitor their own services and advocating for improved WASH conditions from the government.

Asha is another organization seeking to aid Delhi’s slum residents. Asha provides many services for slum dwellers such as access to healthcare, financial services and education. They seek to meet basic environmental and healthcare needs of the population and empower and educate slum dwellers to change their own futures. These are just two of the many organizations seeking to improve the lives of the growing Delhi slum population.

Hannah Kaiser

Photo: Flickr


Also known as Bombay, Mumbai is one of the largest cities in India. Home to about 13 million people, it is one of the most populated metropolitan areas in the world. Mumbai is known for having some of the biggest slums in Asia. Here are 10 insightful facts about Mumbai:

  1. Areas that aren’t recognized by the government are called non-notified slums. These areas lack satisfactory sanitation, clean water, adequate housing and secure tenure.
  2. The houses in the slums of Mumbai are small shanties the size of about 269 square meters. A shanty is typically composed of one room with a small bathing area. Families are forced to share the sleeping area, which is normally composed of one bed and a mat rolled out on the floor at night. There is no kitchen, only a two-burner gas stove. Many families have no choice but to live in these overcrowded and under-resourced conditions.
  3. The houses do not have indoor toilets. Therefore, people living in shanties have to use communal bathrooms. The bathrooms are unhygienic and do not have proper sewerage to dispose of the waste.
  4. Residents are exposed to contaminated waters as a result of insufficient sewage systems. This is one of the main causes of health problems in Mumbai. People who live in non-notified areas do not have access to clean water. Many people are forced to illegally tap into city water pipes. This contaminates the city’s clean water.
  5. Dharavi is the largest slum in Mumbai, with about one million people residing there. It is the home of many microindustries that include tanning, leatherworking, pottery and plastic recycling. The slums of Dharavi are quite different from what is known as a typical squalid place. Instead, it is a “complex ecological and economic system.” The residents aren’t people who live below the poverty line. On the contrary, they are middle-class, educated folks who have been deprived of decent housing.
  6. Mumbai is a major center for education. The literacy rate is at 89 percent. Even the slums of Mumbai are India’s most literate. However, because Mumbai is so densely populated, school admission can be a challenging process. In fact, parents are advised to start applying six months in advance.
  7. The enrollment rate has increased by 20 percent since 2010.
  8. However, despite the increase, the number of dropouts in Mumbai has also drastically increased. Specifically, in secondary schools, as the dropout rate is 33.4 percent.
  9. Boys drop out from school more than girls do. In 2013, 39 percent of boys dropped out before completing elementary school. Thirty-three percent of girls dropped out that same year.
  10. The unemployment rate is higher in Mumbai than most places in India at 5.5 percent. However, it decreased from 5.7 percent in 2016.

These ten facts about Mumbai give an insight of the living situation. Although Mumbai has a lot of problems, there are many organizations addressing the situation. Organizations like the Fight Hunger Foundation and AMMA are helping to alleviate hunger and poverty in India. These ten facts about Mumbai also show the education side; it’s mostly positive with a literacy rate of 89 percent and a rising employment rate.

Solansh Moya

Photo: Flickr

mumbai slums
Currently, one in eight people across the world lives in slums. In 2014, an estimated 881 million urban residents lived in poor informal settlements in developing countries. These numbers are especially high in India where the 2011 census found that more than 17 percent of urban Indian households live in slums. Mumbai is one of the most populous cities in India, and while it is one of the wealthiest and most developed regions in India, it is also home to one of the world’s biggest slums. This article discusses the key facts about Mumbai slums.

 

Top Facts about Mumbai Slums

 

1. The United Nations Habitat program defines slums as informal settlements that lack one or more of the following five conditions: access to clean water, access to improved sanitation, sufficient living area that is not overcrowded, durable housing and secure tenure.

2. Mumbai, which is surrounded by water on three sides, has waged a constant battle since the colonial era to find space to expand. Adding to the pressure is the fact that growing employment opportunities in the city have led to a continuous influx of migrants from other areas of India. Shortage of affordable housing and a steady increase in real estate prices in the city has made formal housing unaffordable for most of these migrants.

3. An estimated 6.5 million people, around 55 percent of Mumbai’s total population, live in slums.

4. In Mumbai, slums are notified or recognized by the government if they were settled on state or city government-owned land prior to 2000. Nearly half of Mumbai’s slums are non-notified, meaning they have no security of land tenure and are not entitled to access city services like connections to the water supply and sanitation.

5. Most slum houses do not have individual toilets and taps. Residents have to pay to use community toilets which are rarely maintained and buy overpriced water from vendors. Some 78 percent of community toilets in Mumbai’s slums lack water supply and 58 percent have no electricity. Many slum houses do not have proper doors.

6. Dharavi, with an estimated population of one million people, is not only one of the biggest slum areas in Mumbai, but in the whole of Asia. While physical conditions in the area are dire, it has a thriving informal economy with an annual turnover of one billion dollars by some estimates.

7. Mumbai’s slums occupy 12 percent of its total geographic area and up to a quarter of the available construction area in the city.

8. Alarmed by the rising number of slums and in order to free up land, the state government has been attempting to rehabilitate the slums in Mumbai since the 1990s. The Slum Rehabilitation Authority allows private builders to construct new properties in former slum areas if they can get the consent of the current residents. The developer has to re-house the residents in the newly constructed buildings, free of cost. The rest of the available construction area can then be used to build upscale towers for commercial sale. These slum rehabilitation projects thus provide developers with an opportunity to access prime real estate, while renewing the area.

9. These slum rehabilitation projects are receiving significant resistance. The main concern is that they mainly focus on residential buildings that leave no space for informal businesses that are the livelihoods of many.

10. Apart from the millions of people living in Mumbai slums, the city also has a high number of homeless who cannot afford any form of permanent shelter. The official number of homeless people in the city is around 50,000. Some argue that the actual figure might be much higher.

While the living conditions in Mumbai slums are unimaginable and much more attention should be given to providing adequate services to people who live there, they also provide shelter and employment for millions of migrants who hope for better lives in the city.

Helena Kamper

Photo: Flickr

Worst slums in the world
According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of a slum is “a densely populated usually urban area marked by crowding, dirty run-down housing, poverty and social disorganization.” The worst slums in the world have combinations of inadequate shelter, limited access to healthcare, sanitation, clean water and education.

 

Facts About the 10 Worst Slums in the World

 

  1. Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya (700,000 people)
    Kenya has many of the 10 worst slums in the world. Kibera is about five kilometers from the center of Nairobi and has been called Africa’s largest slum. Nearly half the population is without work, there is no garbage collection, and there is limited access to clean water.
  2. Mathare, Nairobi, Kenya (200,000 people)
    Mathare is one of Nairobi’s oldest slums, with residents dating back to the 1920s. This area lacks necessities such as electricity, roads, clean water and sanitation.
  3. Kawangware, Nairobi, Kenya (650,000 people)
    Kawangware is 15 kilometers west of the center of Nairobi. Poverty is a serious issue with most living on less than $1 each day. Most families can’t afford more than one meal a day so malnutrition is rampant. Disease, lack of clean water and lack of funds to afford education are also major problems.
  4. Kangemi, Nairobi, Kenya (100,000 people)
    Kangemi is home to some of Nairobi’s poorest. Lack of running water, high unemployment, drug addiction, alcoholism and HIV are significant issues in the area.
  5. Khayelitsha, Cape Town, South Africa (400,000 people)
    Sanitation is a huge issue in Khayelitsha with thousands lacking access to toilets. Other issues include shack-style housing and the fact that 99 percent of the population is black due to “spatial segregation.”
  6. Orangi Town, Karachi, Pakistan (2.4 million people)
    Lack of housing isn’t as much of an issue as limited resources. Locals ended up building their own sewers after waiting on the government to build them. Now 96 percent of households have a toilet.
  7. Ciudad Neza, Mexico City, Mexico (1.2 million people)
    Locals have worked hard to form a sense of community and improve public services. The area is still in need of more employment, more transportation and more schools.
  8. Dharavi, Mumbai, India (1 million people)
    Dharavi is often regarded as the largest slum in Asia and is well known as the filming location for Slumdog Millionaire. Most residents have gas for cooking and electricity. Despite the area’s many struggles, it has a booming small business sector.
  9. Rocinha, Rio de Janiero, Brazil (200,000 people) Rocinha is the largest favela in Brazil. While most locals have electricity and running water, the larger issue is sanitation. The average monthly income is $240.
  10. Makoko, Lagos (40,000 – 300,000 people) Makoko is an area of six collective slum villages. Four of the villages are floating on water in the lagoon and two are situated on land. Issues that face this community include malnutrition, childbirth and diseases like malaria.

The 10 worst slums in the world face serious issues. One-fourth of those living in a city reside in a slum, this equates to more than 900 million people globally. With proper assistance, government reconstruction and international aid, many of the factors contributing to the creation of a slum can be extinguished.

Shannon Elder

Photo: Flickr

 

 

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Brazilian Slums rio de janeiro facts
In 2016, the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro drew massive media attention to Brazil. While the majority of the media focus centered on the games themselves, concerns grew about Brazil’s dangerous climate, particularly in regard to the country’s slums. Below are facts about Brazilian slums.

 

Top Facts about Slums in Rio de Janeiro and Brazil

 

  1. The common term for a Brazilian slum is a favela. The name originated out of wartime, as soldiers during Brazil’s civil war sought temporary refuge on hills filled with favela plants.
  2. Favelas grew as migration increased. Since proper housing was too expensive for many immigrants, they turned to the poor, yet cheap, conditions favelas provided on the outskirts of Brazil’s major cities, such as Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.
  3. Approximately six percent of Brazil’s population live in favelas. Today, there are about 1,000 favelas in Rio and 1,600 in São Paulo.
  4. The typical favela has poor infrastructure, leading to difficulties in electricity and plumbing.
  5.  Disease is also rampant within favelas, as there is no standard for sanitation. Health risks may stem from overcrowding, pollution and a lack of waste disposal systems. Life expectancy within favelas is approximately 48 years, while the national average is 68.
  6. Poor living conditions within favelas often breed crime. Drug trafficking is common with most members being young male teenagers, who are four-fifths more likely to die before age 21, Joe Griffin of The Guardian reports.
  7. Gangs not only initiate wars amongst each other in Brazilian slums, but against police. There have been frequent shootouts between gangs and police, especially during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio when the state government was forced to employ numerous police pacification units (UPPs).
  8. Although UPPs originally heightened safety when initially introduced in 2008, they have recently been the center of much controversy, as civilian deaths have increased as a result of police misconduct.
  9. Despite these poor conditions, life in favelas is beginning to improve. NGOs, such as Community in Action, are focused on sustainable community development within these Brazilian slums.
  10. Many houses now have access to new technologies, such as television and the Internet. In addition, small businesses are making progress within their communities, most recently in the area of tourism.

Although progress appears underway, the Brazilian government must take more secure action to ensure that conditions within these Brazilian slums improve further.

Genevieve T. DeLorenzo

Photo: Flickr