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Housing in Latin America and the Caribbean




“One of the most evident challenges in the region is the increase of urban poverty.”
-UNFPA, State of World Population 2007

Latin America and the Caribbean has one of the highest urban growth rates in the world. Between 2000 and 2030, the urban population in the region grew from 394 million to 609 million people. Additionally, the United Nations predicts that in 2020 the percentage of the population residing in urban zones will outnumber that of developed nations, becoming the most urbanized region in the world with 80 percent of its more than 600 million inhabitants living in cities.
(Inter-American Development Bank)


A simple roof versus adequate housing
Between 1990 and 2000, the housing deficit in Latin America rose from 38 to 52 million. According the UN Special Rapporteur on Housing, this is in part explained by the reduction of public investment in low-income housing in certain countries of the region.

Nevertheless, when referring to a housing deficit in Latin America, it is more suffice to say that, while many people have a roof over their head they lack basic elements of adequate housing—such as water and sanitation—that permit them to live in peace and security.

According to statistics published in the XVI General Assembly of Ministries and Maximum Authorities of Latin America and the Caribbean in 2007, only 60 percent of the families in the region have access to adequate housing. In addition, 22 percent live in houses that require significant structural improvements and 18 percent are in need of an entire new home. (MINURVI)


Regional studies and investigations

Causes of Inadequate Housing in Latin America and the Caribbean

According to this study, inadequate housing continues to be one of the most serious political, social and economic problems in the region. The qualitative housing deficit pushes more and more families into housing conditions that are dangerous and unhealthy.
A Habitat for Humanity publication.

Inter-American Development Bank: research and data

The IDB has compiled and organized over 1,000 searchable statistics and indicators for countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, creating a comprehensive dataset for the region.
Inter-American Development Bank, 2006

Bulletin on Housing Rights and Evictions

Link to the most recent editions of the Center on Housing Rights and Evictions bulletin on housing rights and the right to the city. Published in English, Spanish and Portuguese.
COHRE, 2009

Annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty 2013

Themed “Adjusting laws and institutions to address urban expansion and governance”, access to justice for a responsive and inclusive land gevernance need for institutional adjustments to target the most economically vulnerable groups in Brazil. 

Annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty 2013

Themed “Adjusting laws and institutions to address urban expansion and governance”; using evidence-based global housing indicators for policy evaluation of rental housing and vacant properties.


Studies and investigations by country

No other option
A report outlining the main causes, conditions and effects of inadequate housing in Mexico and to propose strategies to deal with them. The project is based on the definition of “adequate housing” provided by the United Nations, which states that people have the right to live in a safe, peaceful and dignified place, anywhere in the world.
A publication of Habitat for Humanity and the Universidad Iberoamericana

More than houses
This study is the first attempt in this region to better understand some of the changes that families experience. It defines a base line reference for before-and-after comparisons used to measure the impact of the organization’s contributions. The report depicts the impact that adequate housing has on Costa Rican families.
A Habitat for Humanity publication.