Causes and characteristics of slums

Causes and characteristics of slums

Slums are unplanned quarters which develop at the edge of main town, example is Kibera slums which have developed at the edge of Nairobi city. They are shanty town formed by many houses of poor quality where people of poor income can afford to live and pay  the rent.


The following are characteristics of slums.

  • Slums are associated with poor sanitation due to lack of proper garbage and sewage disposal
  • Many of houses in slums are semi – permanent .
  • Houses in slums are very cheap since they are of poor quality and also due to low income of people living in slums

  • Slums are associated with high crime rate
  • Houses in slums are very close to each other and are unplanned
  • Slums do not have enough supply of water and power due to their location on the edge of cities
  • Many people living in slums are unemployed
  • There is problem of overcrowding in slums
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Causes of growth of slums in various cities in the world:

  • Lack of funds for housing schemes
  • Little  or no subsidized housing
  • The high rate of rural-urban migration leads to an increase in the number of people in urban areas beyond their carrying capacity

  • Slums reflect poor control of the speed of urbanization by the government
  • The high rate of unemployment makes people unable to afford good housing
  • Cheap and unplanned land found in the edges of many towns

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