New Study Changes the Narrative on Slums

Researchers are building a more complete archive of life in slums, home to one-third of the urban population of developing countries. A new study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) rejects assumptions about the benefits of slums.

A recent article in The Economist shares news of a new study out of MIT that provides new insight into the economic realities of the slum neighborhoods of cities in developing countries (slums account for one-third of the urban population in developing countries, or about 860 million people).

"Economists have tended to accentuate the good side of slums. By offering a toehold for rural migrants seeking their fortune in cities, they are thought to foster upward mobility."

But the new study provides evidence to the popular opinions about the role of slums for upward economic and social mobility: "the MIT paper, which offers simple statistics about 138,000 slum households from around the world, suggests that slums are often an impediment to advancement. Poor hygiene, and the debilitating illnesses it propagates, is one curse."

Full Story: Down and out

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