With a population of 1.78 million, Manila is the capital of and second largest city in the Philippines. It has 42,857 people per square kilometer, making it is the world’s most densely populated city. Manila struggles with crime, overpopulation and pollution. Here are 10 facts about poverty in Manila.
Facts About Poverty in Manila
- There are 3.1 million homeless people living in Manila. The city has the highest homeless population of any in the world. In the Philippines, more than 1.2 million children are homeless and over half of these are found in Manila.
- One-tenth of slum dwellers live in the capital of Manila. The Tondo District, a neighborhood in Manila, is one of the most densely populated places with 80,000 people per square kilometer. According to the United Nations, many of them lack adequate water, housing, sanitation, education, health and employment.
- The annual average of air pollution in Manila is 70 percent more than the recommended safe level. Dangerously high levels of air pollution are more threatening to urban areas such as Manila and come with multiple health risks.
- Nearly 10 percent of the estimated 39 million Filipinos ages six to 24 is an Out of School Child and Youth (OSCY) in Manila. This is equivalent to one in ten Filipinos, with OSCY referring to those who are not attending formal school, are not currently out of school, have not gained employment and have not finished college or post-secondary courses.
- There are an estimated 6,000 slum-dwellers from 800 families living in cemetery slums in Manila North. These communities have existed since the 1950s. Manila North is the city’s oldest and largest cemetery, encompassing an expansive 133 acres.
- Within these cemeteries, frequent, violent anti-drug raids by the Philippine National Police (PNP) have killed more than 12,000 people since June 2016. These killings are linked to President Rodrigo Duterte’s “war on drugs” campaign. The PNP claim that crime and drug use is prevalent in these cemeteries, which is liked to the high levels of unemployment of those living in the cemeteries.
- In Manila, 3.4 million children are stunted with over 300,000 underweight, all of whom are under the age of five. Poor nutrition has remained a constant problem and has made the Philippines has the ninth highest prevalence of stunted kids of all countries in the world. Studies show that this number is expected to grow if the government does not boost support for social services.
- “Happyland,” a slum area of Tondo, has more than 12,000 people living in shelters built around a garbage dump. Residents of “Happyland” look through garbage daily for anything of value. One common finding is chicken scraps which are collected in bins and then recycled through boiling. This is referred to as “pagpag,” which is then sold to hungry families in slums for a few pesos.
- Slums are scattered over 526 communities in all cities and municipalities of Metro Manila. These communities house 2.5 million people in either vacant private or public lands, usually along rivers, near garbage dumps, along railroad tracks, under bridges and beside industrial establishments.
- On average, three-quarters of the households in Manila’s slums are long-term, or more than five years, residents of the area. The average settlement is 19.2 years, with the majority of households migrating to the areas from other cities within the metro or the city.
These facts about poverty in Manila illustrate some of the extremes that people in the city live under, but this does not mean that there is no opportunity for change. Organizations such as CARE are working in the Philippines to help the urban poor in Manila and other cities, and in 2017, they aided more than 30,000 individuals in improving their quality of life. Continued assistance can ensure that these facts about poverty in Manila affect fewer people in the future.
– Ashley Quigley