Monday, October 31, 2011

Child Poverty Insights 17 - Children in Urban Poverty: Can They Get More than Small Change?

In this issue of the Child Poverty Insights, Sheridan Bartlett from the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) highlights the plight of children living in urban poverty. It’s widely recognized that the world is more than half urban, less widely acknowledged is the catastrophic extent of urban poverty or its implications for hundreds of millions of children.  We are used to thinking of urban children as being better off than rural children in every way – better fed, better educated, with better access to health care and a better chance of succeeding in life.  For many children, this is true.  But for growing numbers, the so called “urban advantage” is a myth. Children growing up in urban poverty often remain invisible, not only uncounted but frequently unreached by any basic services: living without secure tenure; heavily exposed to toxics and pollutants; among the groups most at risk from disasters and the direct and indirect impacts of climate change; and, confined to small overcrowded homes with little opportunity for exploration or physical activity. It is crucial that policymakers understand that poverty reduction approaches developed to tackle rural poverty will not necessarily work in urban settings, as the nature of urban poverty is different from that of rural poverty.
All previous issues of Insights can be found here.