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Urban Poverty Banner

As the world is becoming increasingly urban, there is a growing demand for better understanding of and solutions to the conditions of urban poverty. Urban poverty is estimated to affect approximately one third of all urban residents, or one quarter of the total poor in the developing world. The share of the poor as a proportion of all urban residents is highest in Sub Saharan Africa and South Asia, at an astounding 70 to 75 percent.

Rapid urbanization, if not well managed, will lead to more informal settlements and poverty. Millennium Development Goal Number 7 (Target 11) sets the objective for urban poverty alleviation by calling for the improvement of the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers. Estimates suggest that around one third of the urban populations in developing countries -- nearly one billion people -- are living in slums. Slums are generally characterized as informal settlements with poor quality housing, limited access to services, high densities, and often insecure land tenure.

The new World Bank Urban and Local Government Strategy realigns the Bank’s urban business with five business lines considered critical for cities and local governments in the decade ahead. The "Making pro-poor policies a city priority: Reducing urban poverty and upgrading slums" business line aims to support cities and national governments in addressing urban poverty by expanding policy-based interventions and scaling up investments in services for the poor citywide and nationwide.

This website is designed to offer practical information and guidance to practitioners and cities as well as to show what the World Bank is doing in Urban Poverty and Slum Upgrading.