The rapid growth of shanty towns

 a favela in São Paulo

A favela in downtown São Paulo

Around 2,000 new migrants arrive into the city each week. This means that the favelas have been growing at a fast rate.

The population of São Paulo in 1940 was just over 1.3 million but huge amounts of migration meant that the population started to grow rapidly.

People were pulled into the city because they thought that São Paulo would provide better employment opportunities.

São Paulo provides more than 50% of all industrial work in Brazil. The structure of roads in Brazil meant that it was much easier to migrate into São Paulo than some of the other areas.

Migrants were often pushed out of their areas towards São Paulo.

Farming was difficult with very little pay for the effort involved.

Many rural areas struggled with either famine or drought so many farmers were keen to sell their farms and move into the big city to access better services and a better life for their families.

From the 1970s, newcomers to the city did not have enough money to buy their own land and were forced to look for housing alternatives. The favelas, where people built temporary houses, started to appear.

Issues in São Paulo city

Transport and TrafficOver 7 million cars are registered in the city resulting in heavy traffic. The public transport system is struggling to cope with the huge numbers of people in the city. This creates a lot of noise and pollution.
SegregationThere is very little social interaction between the social classes and many of the rich people feel threatened by those who live in the favelas.
ServicesPeople in favelas have limited access to clean drinking water, electricity, toilets, schools or good quality healthcare. There are few refuse collections and sewage is not collected centrally and often will contaminate drinking water supplies. Disease is widespread.
EmploymentPeople who live in the favela find it extremely difficult to get a good education and then to get a good formal job. Instead, they will be forced to work in the informal sector - working on the rubbish tips or selling fruit. Some may turn to crime or prostitution.
Housing Houses are built using whatever materials that can be found – usually on a temporary basis. Houses can be destroyed by accidental fire or through slum clearance by the local government. Over one third of the population of São Paulo live in one-roomed houses.
Crime Crime, violence, murder, prostitution and drug trafficking are all major issues in the favela. Often this is the only way that some people believe they can survive.
Pollution The Favela produces large amounts of waste that are usually not managed in an efficient manner. There are huge numbers of health hazards across the city but these are amplified in the favelas.
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