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At the beginning of this century only 12 of the worlds population lived in urban areas Half-way through the century that number increased to 30 percent and will reach 50 as we enter the next Century By 2005 for the first time in the history of the world more people will live in and around cities than in rural areas Less than 25 years after that urban populations will be twice that of rural areas The impact of those demographic milestones on poverty and unemployment and the quality of life should not be underestimated Today the World Bank estimates that close to 25 of the urban population in developing nations live in absolute poverty - approximately 330 million people or the equivalent of the total populations of Belgium France Germany Ireland Italy Luxembourg the Netherlands Portugal Spain and the UK combined By the end of this decade over half the poor populations in developing nations will be living in urban areas According to an unpublished UNICEF report 90 percent of the poor in Latin America will live in urban areas with 40 in Africa and 45 in Asia UNICEF estimates that by the year 2000 743 million households will live in poverty as compared to 335 million households in 1975 - a 220 increase In 1960 the ratio of the richest 20 to the poorest was 30 1 today it is 601 with 25 of the worlds population controlling in excess of 85 of the worlds industries and consuming 80 of its energy supplies This is the numerical face The reality is hunger malnutrition starvation health and sanitation problems sickness homelessness and growing numbers of frightened refugees Alienation and anger follow very quickly Today there is growing recognition that development and human needs are integrally connected Manfred Max-Neef and other South American urbanists argue that poverty must be understood in a different way Traditional concepts of poverty are limited and usually refer
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