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Urban Programming

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  <span class="field-credit">
    Norman Ng for Mercy Corps  </span>
    Photo: Norman Ng for Mercy Corps

According to the United Nations, 2007 marked the first time when more people lived in urban than rural areas, with 50 percent of the global population (3.3 billion citizens) living in cities. It is projected that, by 2050, the world population will increase by 2.5 billion (to 9.1 billion), while urban populations will swell by 3.1 billion, (to 6.4 billion). This means that urban areas would likely absorb all expected population growth over the next four decades.

Rural-to-urban migration patterns compound these urban population pressures and indicate a 0.6 billion decrease in global rural populations by 2050. Cities — especially smaller size cities — and urban communities of the less-developed regions will experience the majority of urban population growth.

An increase in urban poverty rates accompanies this urban population growth. The share of the population living with less than one dollar a day decreased in rural areas, but increased in urban areas between 1993-2002. As trends in population growth and economic hardship converge in urban areas, this ever-increasing share of the global population confronts increasingly challenging conditions: worldwide, one in three urban dwellers lives in a slum and urban slum growth is outpacing urban population growth in developing regions.

The design and application of Mercy Corps programming provide an effective means to address complex and transitional urban environments. With an inter-sectoral and territorial approach to addressing urban poverty, Mercy Corps programs focus on the crosscutting themes of Quality of Life, Governance and Capacity Building.

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