Monday, April 6, 2009

Ghetto or Slum, do you know the difference?

A slum, as defined by the United Nations agency UN-HABITAT, is a run-down area of a city characterized by substandard housing and squalor and lacking in tenure security. According to the United Nations, one billion people worldwide live in slums.The term has traditionally referred to housing areas that were once respectable but which deteriorated as the original dwellers moved on to newer and better parts of the city, but has come to include the vast informal settlements found in cities in the developing world.Many shack dwellers vigorously oppose the description of their communities as 'slums' arguing that this results in them being pathologised and then, often, subject to threats of evictions. Many academics have vigorously criticized UN-Habitat and the World Bank arguing that their 'Cities Without Slums' Campaign has led directly to a massive increase in forced evictions.Although their characteristics vary between geographic regions, they are usually inhabited by the very poor or socially disadvantaged. Slum buildings vary from simple shacks to permanent and well-maintained structures. Most slums lack clean water, electricity, sanitation and other basic services.
A ghetto is described as a "portion of a city in which members of a minority group live especially because of social, legal, or economic pressure."[


  1. These are both very difficult words. I am trying to write a paper. There must be some correlation between the two. This will be a struggle.

  2. Are the terms mutually exclusive? For example, can a ghetto be in the slums?

  3. I am so ashamed at complaining about our (American's) living status!