Facts: urban settings as a social determinant of health
Of the three billion people who live in urban settings, an estimated one billion live in slums.
An estimated 130 000 premature deaths and 50–70 million incidents of respiratory illness occur each year due to episodes of urban air pollution in developing countries, half of them in East Asia.
An estimated 150 000 children are living and working on the streets in China.
In Nairobi, where 60% of the city’s population lives in slums, child mortality in the slums is 2.5 times greater than in other areas of the city.
In spite of nightmarish congestion, motor vehicle use in developing cities is soaring. In 1980, the third world accounted for only 18% of global vehicle ownership; by 2020 about half of the world’s projected 1.3 billion cars, trucks and buses will clog the streets and alleys of poorer countries.
The World Health Organization considers traffic to be one of the worst health hazards facing the urban poor, and predicts that road accidents by 2020 will be the third leading cause of death.
Breathing Mumbai’s air is the equivalent of smoking two-and-one-half packs of cigarettes per day.
In Kumasi, Ghana, a country which privatized public toilets in the 1990s, private toilet use once a day for a family costs 10% of the basic wage.
In Quito, Ecuador, infant mortality is 30 times higher in the slums than in wealthier neighborhoods.
In Kenyan slums such as Mathare it costs US6c for every visit to a privatized toilet: this is too expensive for most poor people, who prefer to defecate in the open and spend their money on water or food.