The State of the World’s Children 2012: Children in an urban world

This edition of The State of the World’s Children explores the increasingly urban experience of childhood. Over half the world’s people – including more than a billion children – now live in cities and towns.

While many children enjoy the advantages of urban life, including access to educational, medical and recreational facilities, too many, however, are denied such essentials as electricity, clean water and health care. Too many are forced into dangerous and exploitative work instead of being able to attend school. The hardships endured by children in poor communities are often concealed – and thus perpetuated – by the statistical averages on which decisions about resource allocation are based. The data are startling. By 2050, 70 per cent of all people will live in urban areas. Already, 1 in 3 urban dwellers lives in slum conditions; in Africa, the proportion is a staggering 6 in 10. As this report illustrates, the impact on children living in such conditions is significant.