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Urbanization and India’s Slum Continuum: Evidence on the Range of Policy Needs and Scope of Mobility

Emily Rains

Working Papers from eSocialSciences

Abstract: In contrast with historical precedent, urbanization across the Global South is associated with increasing levels of urban poverty. These trends engender unique challenges for practitioners and scholars of sustainable development. However, data deficits contribute obstacles to formulating effective poverty alleviation policy. Official statistics in developing countries omit the most vulnerable groups, leading to underestimates of the depth, breadth, and permanence of poverty. To address these gaps, we create our own dataset of over 8,000 households across three Indian cities with diverse economic and political histories: Bangalore, Jaipur, and Patna. We leverage satellite data and ground knowledge from local organizations in order to identify slum neighborhoods not contained in official government lists. We provide systematic evidence that living conditions increase along a wide-ranging continuum of wellbeing, corresponding to diverse circumstances and different policy needs. Most of the variation in living conditions is due to differences across rather than within slums. Furthermore, there is evidence of very limited social mobility in slums. These findings suggest a need for policy interventions targeted at the neighborhood level if urbanization is to provide a pathway to upward mobility.

Keywords: Urbanization; India; Slum; mobility; urban poverty; interventions targeted; practitioners; scholars; family members; evictions; informal settlements (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018-03
Note: Institutional Papers
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