Housing Policy Matters for the Poor: Housing Conditions in Latin America and the Caribbean, 1995-2006

Dec 2011
This paper discusses the evolution of housing conditions in urban areas of Latin America and the Caribbean from 1995 to 2006 based on data from household surveys done in 18 countries that comprise 95 percent of the urban population of the region. The results indicate that, on average, the proportion of urban households facing housing shortages is declining. This decline holds for households of all income levels, particularly those in the lower quintiles of the income distribution structure. The estimates made in this study indicate that in 2006 lack of infrastructure affected almost 19 million households. Further, about seven million households needed a new shelter and nine million needed significant improvements to their houses due to poor construction materials or overcrowding. Cross-country analysis shows that each country was facing a different combination of problems and was improving its housing conditions at a different pace, which indicates that it is highly unlikely that a ¿one-size-fits-all¿ solution exists.