Table 1

Current definitions of slums

UN-Habitat current definition—based on a household23‘Any specific place, whether a whole city, or a neighbourhood, is a slum area if half or more of all households lack improved water, improved sanitation, sufficient living area, durable housing, secure tenure, or combinations thereof’.20 The criteria (improved water, etc) are defined in more detail.
UN original definition—based on an urban space24‘A contiguous settlement where the inhabitants are characterised as having inadequate housing and basic services’.
India (2011 census)25A compact area of at least 300 population or about 60–70 households of poorly built congested tenements, in unhygienic environment usually with inadequate infrastructure and lacking in proper sanitary and drinking water facilities.
Bangladesh (2014 slum census)26A cluster of compact settlements of five or more households which generally grow very unsystematically and haphazardly in an unhealthy condition and atmosphere on government and private vacant land. Slums also exist on owner-based household premises.
Brazil (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics definition)27More than 50 contiguous households where most do not have their own property title of the land and live under one of the characteristics listed below:
  • The absence of one or more services (energy supply, water supply, sewage system, garbage collection).

  • Unplanned urbanisation.