SDGs: Indicator 11.1.1 | Land Portal

Proportion of urban population living in slums, informal settlements or inadequate housing


Last updated on 19 January 2022

This indicator is currently classified as Tier I. The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) is the Custodian agency for this indicator.

Unit of measure: The indicator is unitless, expressing a ratio between the number of people living in households who do not meet one or more of the basic housing conditions and the total population (%), Ratio between the number of households with net monthly expenditure on housing exceeding 30% of the total monthly income and the total population (%), Ratio between the number of households with approved municipal permits and the total population (%)


Why is this indicator important?

Urbanization is one of the most significant global trends of the 21st century. Rapid urbanization without proper planning and governance mechanisms, can lead to tenure insecurity, spatial inequalities and a lack of basic service provision. Expanding slums and precarious informal settlements may increase poverty, pollution, health, and environmental risks. At the same time, displacement for urban development can lead to food insecurity, loss of community structures, and the marginalization of certain segments of the population.

It is thus essential to collect data on the proportion of the population living in slums, informal settlements or those living in inadequate housing so that appropriate policies for addressing housing issues can be developed ensuring no one is left behind.


How is the indicator measured and monitored?

According to the metadata document, people living in informal settlements or slums,  do not meet one or more of the five following housing conditions: (1) access to improved water; (2) access to improved sanitation facilities; (3) sufficient-living area (not overcrowded); (4) durable housing; (5) and security of tenure. In addition, the indicator considers whether households have an approved municipal permit as well as their affordability to measure inadequate housing. Most data is derived from censuses and household surveys. In addition, UN-Habitat reports annually on related data in the MDG’s reports. In 2021, the Global Housing Indicators Working Groups suggested to coordinate the worldwide data collection on this indicator.

As of now, indicator measurement covers 320 cities as part of the UN-Habitat City Prosperity Initiative. The data is disaggregated by location, income-group, sex/ethnicity/religion/migration status (head of household), age, and disability status. Planning has already begun for regional and global disaggregation. The major limitations lie with the lack of capacities at national and city levels to assess and monitor all indicator components. Moreover, the indicator does not consider homelessness.


By Anne Hennings, peer-reviewed by Dennis Mwaniki, Spatial Data Expert at UN-Habitat’s Data and Analytics Unit.


Official indicator data

The criteria defining slums, informal settlements and inadequate housing include access to water, access to sanitation, sufficient living area, overcrowding, structural quality, durability and location, security of tenure, affordability, accessibility, and cultural adequacy.

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Population living in slums is the proportion of the urban population living in slum households.

Measurement unit: 
Percentage (%)

Other related indicators on the Land Portal

In addition to the official indicator data, the following indicators provide information concerning urban land administration, access to feasible and affordable formalization, and efforts to improve informal settlements.

Formalization of urban residential housing is feasible and affordable measured on a scale from A - which stands for good practices - to D - reflecting weak practices.

Measurement unit: 
Index (A; D)

Individual land in urban areas is (i) recorded and (ii) mapped measured on a scale from A - which stands for good practices - to D - reflecting weak practices.

Measurement unit: 
Index (A; D)

Process to improve informal settlements exists measured on a scale from A - which stands for good practices - to D - reflecting weak practices.

Measurement unit: 
Index (A; D)

Urban population refers to the share (%) of people living in Urban areas as defined by national statistical offices. It is calculated as the ratio between Rural Population and Total Population.

Measurement unit: 
Percentage (%)

Land and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities
Target 11.1: By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums

Indicator details

Tier 1

The Indicator is conceptually clear, has an internationally established and available methodology and standards, and that data is regularly produced by countries for at least 50 per cent of countries and of the population in every region where the indicator is relevant.

Custodian agency: 

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