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Facts & Statistics

Why Habitat for Humanity is needed

The world is experiencing a global housing crisis.

  • About 1.6 billion people live in substandard housing and 100 million are homeless. (1)
  • Each week, more than 1 million people are born in, or move to, cities in the developing world. (2)
  • One billion people (32 percent of the global urban population) live in urban slums.
  • If no serious actions were taken, the number of slum dwellers worldwide would increase over the next 30 years to nearly 2 billion. (3)

In the United States alone, 95 million people have housing problems.

  • Including payments too large a percentage of their income, overcrowding, poor quality shelter and homelessness. (4)

Clean, decent, and stable housing provides more than just a roof over someone’s head.

  • Stability for families and children.
  • Sense of dignity and pride.
  • Health, physical safety, and security.
  • Increase of educational and job prospects.

The transformational ability of good housing.

  • Clean, warm housing is essential for prevention and care of the diseases of poverty like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, diarrhea, and malaria. (5)
  • Children under five in Malawi living in Habitat for Humanity houses have 44 percent less malaria, respiratory or gastrointestinal diseases compared to children living in traditional houses. (6)

Housing is a great means of wealth creation.

  • Home ownership is a form of wealth accumulation through equity and forced savings from mortgage repayment. (7)
  • Housing construction creates job opportunities for migrants to cities and stimulates the creation of small business.
  • The process of securing land tenure helps to increase access to credit. (8)

Good housing attracts economic investment and development.

  • Contributes to thriving school systems and community organizations.
  • A catalyst for civic activism and a stimulus for community-based organizations.
  • Safe homes and neighborhoods help to build social stability and security. (9)

Housing must become a priority

  • The percentage of people without access to decent, stable housing is rising.
  • Increasing the housing supply across the globe is essential.
  • Adequate housing is vitally important to the health of the world’s economies, communities, and populations.
  • If we are to succeed in the fight against poverty, we must support the expansion of housing both as policy and as practice.



(1) Miloon Kothari, UN Press Briefing by Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing, November, 2005.
(2) D. Kissick, et al, Housing for All: Essential for Economic, Social, and Civic Development, a 28 page manuscript prepared for the World Urban Forum III by PADCO/AECOM.
(3) UN-Habitat, Global Report on Human Settlements 2003: The Challenge of Slums.
(4) National Low Income Housing Coalition, America’s Neighbors: The Affordable Housing Crisis and the People it Affects, 2004.
(5) Kissick, op. cit.
(6) Christopher G. Wolff, et al., The Effect of Improved Housing on Illness in Children under Five Years Old in Northern Malawi: Cross-Sectional Study, BMJ vol. 322, 2001
(7) Thomas P. Boehm and Alan M. Scholttmann, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: Office of Policy Development and Research, Wealth Accumulation and Homeownership: Evidence for Low-Income Households, December 2004
(8) Kissick, op. cit.
(9) Kissick, op. cit.

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