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Last updated at 14:12 GMT, Friday, 02 March 2012

City children suffering more


1 March 2012

In its report The State of the World's Children, the charity UNICEF warns that hundreds of millions of children living in cities are more deprived than had previously been thought. It says the severe hardship faced by these children prevents progress on the Millennium Development Goals.

Emily Buchanan

Delhi slum

Only half of the children in in Delhi's shantytowns go to school


Click to hear the report


Campaigns against poverty tend to focus on the rural poor, but UNICEF has found it's children living in slums and shantytowns who are becoming increasingly the most disadvantaged and vulnerable.

One reason is that so many -- about 300 million round the world -- go unregistered at birth. The lack of any official identity means they then miss out on basic services like secure housing, clean water, or education. And they can more easily be exploited or prey to traffickers.

The plight of these children is often overlooked because statistics show average urban families enjoy better amenities than rural ones but this data masks the growing pockets of extreme poverty in towns and cities.

Take Delhi, the capital of India's booming economy. Figures show 90 per cent of children city-wide attend primary school but in fact only half the slum children go to school.

UNICEF says policy-makers should consciously target help at these hard-to-reach children. It recommends a grass roots approach with more recognition of the efforts local communities make to tackle poverty.


Click to hear the vocabulary



very poor areas of a city with bad living conditions


exposed to harm


details that state who someone is


treated unfairly for profit


people who illegally transport and sell goods or people


difficult situation


facilities or services in a building or place




think specifically about

grass roots

at a local level


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