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.
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
facilities or services in a building or place
think specifically about
- grass roots
at a local level