chapter  4
35 Pages

Urban poverty and vulnerability

Persistent poverty is the antithesis of progress – and poverty is disturbingly persistent. After more than 50 years of concerted efforts to reduce global poverty, limited progress has been made. And while it is widely held that economic development is a necessary condition for poverty reduction, it is insufficient on its own: pockets of poverty can be found in every country of the world, rich and poor. Why, and what can be done about it? These questions have motivated decades of research into the nature, causes and extent of poverty in rich and poor countries alike. They have also inspired the growth of the international aid industry, which, since the 1950s, has funnelled trillions of dollars into efforts to promote growth and alleviate poverty. While some gains have been made in the fight against global poverty, it remains a disturbingly widespread phenomenon. Furthermore, although poverty in low-and middle-income countries has generally been portrayed as a rural phenomenon, recent evidence suggests that economic growth and rapid urbanisation are contributing to a decline in overall poverty but a rise in urban poverty.