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Is there a future for poor people in the city?

URBANIZATION / Moving from the countryside to the city has lifted many people out of poverty, particularly in developing countries. The city provides better access to work, services and freedom from inhibiting social norms. At the same time, life for the city's poor can be difficult.

While global estimates from the UN show that the majority of the poor still live in rural areas, the problems and challenges in cities, especially those with rapid population growth, can be significant. Most of the poor here live in informal settlements and slums, often overcrowded housing of poor quality. At the same time, they have limited access to basic services and pay high prices for the few that they do have access to. It is estimated that one billion people today live in informal settlements, and that number is expected to increase to more than 3 billion before 2050. Natural risks such as floods and environmental pollution can exacerbate the challenges of the poor. Many urban poor work in the informal sector without job security or . . .

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Judy Baker
Baker is Global Lead at the World Bank.

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