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The Young Faces of Urban Poverty

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a child sifts through garbage for items to sell, in Peru.
Millions of children around the world are at risk because of urban poverty.
Affecting people in both the developed and developing world, urban poverty manifests in a variety of symptoms like disease, unemployment, hunger, homelessness, substance abuse and sometimes even gang violence. Without intervention; there is little hope for those affected.
Big City Getting Bigger
More families are choosing to live in the city. According to the WHO, as of 2014; 54 per cent of the world’s population lives in urban areas, up from just 20 per cent at the start of the 20th century. The UN notes that this figure is expected to rise to 70 per cent in 2050. Cities often don’t have the infrastructure to support a rapidly growing population. There may not be enough jobs or housing for everyone.
Modern City Strife
The reasons behind urban poverty are complex, and the outcomes are equally complex and devastating.
Perhaps the broadest example of Urban Poverty is people either struggling to make ends meet with poorly paying jobs or being unemployed. There are often few safety nets for people in terms of financial relief and people are often left without sufficient income. If parents are unable to afford a wage to support their family, children also struggle. It is difficult for people living around the poverty line to find a place to live and they often have to settle for low quality, overcrowded or temporary housing.
Living in temporary housing can often lead to negative health effects with people apparently becoming more vulnerable the longer they are exposed to urban poverty. A study by the University of British Columbia on temporary housing in Vancouver found that the mortality rate for people living in these conditions was 10 times that of the national average.
While many people struggle with living in temporary housing, others end up on the street. Homelessness is one of the most visible aspects of urban poverty and a large amount of these homeless people are children. For example, a report by the Homeless Hub notes that in Canada around 35,000 young people (under the age of 24) are homeless throughout the year.
Alarmingly this study also reveals that the longer children find themselves in a state of poverty and homelessness, the more likely they are to be affected by poor nutrition, victimization, substance use and abuse, and limited access to healthcare and other services.
How You Can Help
World Vision, a child focused relief and development organization, work to fight poverty in Canada and across the globe. Because of the number of impoverished people in cities is growing an increasing focus on their work is helping children and families affected by urban poverty. Providing access to resources like food, education and tools to empower children to advocate for their rights. You can help by voting for World Vision’s urban poverty video in the ‘Project for Awesome’ competition. Should World Vision get enough votes in this competition, it will give us the resources to help the children and families living with urban poverty around the world.
Please follow the link to vote on the Project for Awesome Page.
World Vision also has numerous other programs aimed at assisting children in urban communities, such as World Vision's Urban ​Thinkers Campaign.




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