In what ways do megacities mitigate or contribute to poverty?

Essay, 2008

6 Pages, Grade: 1,3


Task: Visit the UN Habitat Website and the United Nations University websites as well the website for the United Nations economic and social commission for Asia and the Pacific. Prepare a table showing the various dimensions/indicators of urban poverty profiled across different regions/cities of the world (Be sure to cite the specific tables, charts, websites, etc. where your information is being drawn from in construction of this table).

In what ways do megacities mitigate or contribute to poverty?(500 words- excludes words on table).

Dimensions and indicators of urban poverty

Note: Urban patterns differ widely within countries. Furthermore, consistent and uniform data of all places/regions, years and definitions doesn’t exist.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Other indicators and dimensions for urban poverty could comprise[8]

- Health: share of household expenditures on potable water and sanitation, households with regular solid waste collection, access to primary health services
- Education: Access to vocational training, share of household expenditures on education
- Income related: Access to credit, shares of informal employment, share of household expenditures on housing and transport, access to electricity

But as noted above, it is very difficult to get adequate data for all cities / regions from every year.

Urbanization offers both – opportunities to improve living conditions, but also real challenges with regard to an increasing urban poverty, as demonstrated subsequently.


Megacities are engines of economic growth and productivity, places where a great share of the nationwide income is obtained. These cities concentrate among others huge human resources, permitting economies of scale, and thus an efficient provision of basic services at lower costs (infrastructure, water provision, electricity or waste collection, etc. see Population Information Program 2002, p. 7).

Moreover, large cities attract investment, which in turn creates new jobs, even in the low-level-sector. And additionally, the informal sector contributes a good share of jobs at low costs, in particular for the masses of poorly skilled people in the lower class. This sector distinguishes itself as dynamic and flexible with a high potential for those that can bring in new ideas. Last but not least it also “provides a safety net in countries that lack basic welfare services”, because streets offer a possibility to make social contacts (Clark 2003, p. 116).

Furthermore, local governments often enact regulations and work out other measures in order to meet the urban challenges of poverty (among them so called “pro-poor” social and economic policies in terms of supporting small-scale enterprises through credit and land provision, see Population Information Program 2002, p. 17). Often, NGOs and other international institutions support them in providing health care, improving sanitation and water supply, or public transport etc.

Average living standards in large urban areas are generally better, but often not for the cities’ poorest. Nevertheless, education or health care can be provided easier and more effective than in the countryside due to a better availability of hospitals and doctors per capita (see Cities Alliance, p. 1). More births take place in hospitals, and infant mortality as well as death rates among elder people are lower than in the countryside (Clark 2003, p. 128).


[1] UN-ECOSOC (2007), Data from 2005

[2] UN-ECOSOC (2007), Data from 2005

[3] UN-ECOSOC (2007), Data from 2004

[4] UN-ECOSOC (2007), Data from 2004

[5] Population Information Program (2002), Data from various years, also source: World Bank

[6] Clark (2003), p. 113, City Development Index for 1998, indicator sum containing city product, infrastructure, waste, health, and education

[7] Demographia 2008

[8] World Bank 2008

Excerpt out of 6 pages


In what ways do megacities mitigate or contribute to poverty?
Free University of Berlin  (Center for Global Politics)
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ISBN (eBook)
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megacity, mega-city, global city, poverty, Armut, Megastadt, urban poverty, städtische Armut
Quote paper
Natalie Züfle (Author), 2008, In what ways do megacities mitigate or contribute to poverty?, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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