Top 10 Largest Slums In The World 2020

Interesting list of the largest slums in the world presently. A slum is defined as a populated area that is characterized by substandard housing, squalor, lack of planning, and the threat of eviction. Naturally, slums are populated by poor people, many of whom are migrant workers, and their families. 

Slums are usually situated close to expensive, high brow areas where many of the slum dwellers work in low paid jobs such as domestic hands, gardeners, baby sitters, and factory workers.

In this article, we want to know the biggest slums in the world, where they are located, and some interesting facts about them.

The world is evolving into an urban and global village with the utmost speed, the global population of slum dwellers grows continuously and tremendously. Also, urban slums are fast becoming the world’s fastest-growing human habitat. In some cities in the developing parts of the world, slum residents account for more than half of the population and often do not have education, adequate shelter, clean water, and sanitation, or health care.

Top 10 Largest Slums In The World 

1. Orangi Town, Pakistan 

    • Residents: 2.4 Million
Orangi Town, Pakistan

As of this moment, Orangi Town in Pakistan is the biggest slum in the world with a population of about 2,400,000 (2.4 million) people all jammed together in a living space of 57 square kilometers. Orangi town is evidence that slum dwelling is a continuing trend because the town is only about 12 years old. As expected in a slum, there are problems of sanitation, and this is compounded by the fact that there is no central planning in the area; structures are erected in clusters that make it virtually impossible to have a drainage or sewage disposal system. 

The good thing is that the people of Orangi Town are quite industrious; they power their own economy through small businesses such as jewelry-making, as well as the sewing of saris and slippers which may then be sold in the immediate environment, or taken to big cities for sale. Sadly, the rate of crime is quite high; as high as 77 percent of women have been victims of rape in the last 3 years.  

When the inhabitants of Orangi Town were tired of living without proper sanitation and a healthy environment, the residents gave up waiting for the government to mount sewers and built them by hand themselves. Presently over 8000 (90%) of Orangi Town’s streets and lanes have sewerage pipes, constructed by residents.

2. Neza in Mexico

    • Residents: 1,200,000
Ciudad Neza, Mexico City

Neza Chalco Itza is a slum of closely packed residence with a reputation for crime and in need of more schools and local jobs, which is located in Mexico City, in Mexico has about 1,200,000 (1.2 million people) in it, but some sources quote figures as high as 4 million. The major problem with Neza is the lack of water; most residents face a dire lack of water for drinking, cooking, and maintaining personal hygiene.

The slum appeared as development came into the area. When the railroad was built it stimulated industry, and so more factories sprang up with the resulting demand for labour, and so more people moved into the city. Many of the migrants came without money and so could not afford to find lodgings in the city proper, today Neza Chalco Itza is one of the largest slums in the world.

3. Dharavi in Mumbai

    • Residents: 1 Million

Dharavi is a slum in Mumbai, India. Mumbai is the financial capital of India, and as such it is only logical that people flock to this city in droves with the hopes of making it big or at least making a difference in their lives. But not everybody who comes to Mumbai can afford to live in the city; and that is why you have the slum city of Dharavi.

Dharavi was originally a mangrove swamp on the outskirts of Mumbai, but today it is a shantytown in which over 1,000,000 (1 million people) jam together (overcrowded) in an area that is less than 1 square mile in size. Without a doubt, this is one of the most densely populated places in the world. 

Amazingly, this is where the famous movie “Slumdog Millionaire” was filmed. Dharavi is a district in Mumbai and it is the second biggest slum in Asia. Thousands of small businesses thrive in this place. The slum has undergone various phases of many disasters and epidemic cases which include a widespread plague in 1896 which killed more than half of the population of Mumbai. The economy of the slum is active due to the fact that there are several household enterprises that employ many of the residents in the slum as workers in leather, textiles, and pottery products are among the goods made inside Dharavi.

4. Kibera in Nairobi

    • Residents: 700,000

This slum is just 5km from the center city of Nairobi, with a population of over 700,000 people, Kibera is the largest slum in Kenya, and perhaps the whole of Africa. Kibera has more than 50,000 children, most of whom go to informal schools set up by residents and churches.

Interestingly, the slum has some history to speak about: in 1918 the British government needed Nubian soldiers to help in military campaigns, and this was their camp. With time the settlement grew, and the British didn’t see a reason to stop the expansion. 

Today, Kibera is a mash-up of shacks, made up of bricks, mud or sticks, corrugated tin roofs, and dirt or sometimes concrete floors. Only 20 percent of Kibera has electricity, and the conditions are so unsanitary that sometimes up to 50 shacks share one pit latrine. The area is rife with cheap drugs, and many young men have taken up glue sniffing. There is a real drug and alcohol problem in Kibera, and this has caused an uptrend in crime and violence.

Most of the people in this slum are living on an extremely low income, earning less than $1 per day, the rate of unemployment is high, persons with the case of HIV & Aids in the slum are many. On several occasions, the Residents living in this settlement have gone to court to prevent the government from building a road through Kibera, bulldozing and destroying schools and clinics and thousands of homes.

5. Khayelitsha, Cape Town, South Africa

    • Residents: 400,000

Khayelitsha in Cape Town, South Africa, comes next with an estimated population of about 400,000 people, which some analysts have estimated as high as 1,000,000 people. The town sprang up with the collapse of apartheid in which people moved en-masse to the big cities with hopes of finding a spot in the new South Africa and its economy. Without money to do business, and unable to find work, many blacks were relegated to the suburbs.

Be warned! Cape Town is considered one of the poverty capitals in the world, and things are so bad that it is reported impossible for a person to walk through the streets without police protection. A high number of residents had no access to toilets. Most of the residents have to walk a long way without light or make use of inadequate temporary toilets like potties or chemical toilets. Others make use of fields or bushes as they have no access at all to latrinesOther ills that weigh upon the town are a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS and poverty that looks hopeless. The government and NGOs are trying to help the young escape drugs and crime so that they too can contribute to society.

6. Rochina, Rio, Brazil 

    • Residents: 70,000

The slum is situated in the south of Rio De Janeiro South Zone between the districts of São Conrado and Gávea. Rochina is the biggest slum in Brazil and one of the most photographed slums in the world. Rocinha means little farm and is called the first world of favelas because yes, there is a lot to photograph over there.

According to the 2010 census, the ghetto holds more than 70,000 people; it is built on a steep hillside located above the city of Rio De Janerio located one kilometer from a close-by beach. Most of the building in the slum is on a very steep hill having many trees surrounding it.

The slum has problems with drug use and trafficking, pickpocketing, prostitution, and regular breakouts of disease. The government has been trying to integrate Rocinha into the main city, giving them bus lines, banks, and hospitals.

7. Klong Toey 

    • Residents: 100,000

Klong Toey, in Bangkok, Thailand, is populated by over 100,000 people, most of whom are migrant workers that come from farming villages all over the country, in search of work. This is the oldest and largest slum in the whole of Bangkok.

Originally, it was built as temporary housing for labourers to stay near the port in 1950, but then poor people started to move in gradually, and they eventually overtook the area. The conditions are not suitable for habitation, and the Long Toey canal which has been terribly polluted runs through the slum. The area is rife with a crime in the form of gang violence, and the town is known as a hub for the notorious Thai Mafia. Some residents of the slum, however, earn a decent living by selling all kinds of items on boats floating along the canal. These floating stalls are a popular tourist attraction bringing in visitors from all over the world to Thailand.  

8. Tondo

Tondo is a shanty town in Manila, Philippines. Interestingly, this area has a history going back as far as 1000 years. The area was originally intended to become an industrial port, but World War II halted all such plans, and after the war the place became a large squatter for poor families. The area is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. the living conditions are extremely unfavorable; there is a river filled with garbage and excrement flowing right in the middle of the town, and the United Nations warns that it poses a serious risk to health, especially as children can be seen playing inside the waters.

9. Makoko in Lagos, Nigeria

    • Residents: 86, 000

Though it may be much more, the population is estimated to be 86,000. It is one of the biggest slums in the world. Makoko is a neighborhood across the 3rd Mainland Bridge situated on the coast of the mainland in Lagos. One-third of the community is built on stilts along the lagoon and the rest is on the land.

Makoko is a floating slum in Lagos, Nigeria. It was originally established as a fishing village in the 18th century and has since expanded as the community has increased through birth and migration. This slum has ironically been called the Venice of Africa, as visitors have been surprised to find people living on boats, and actually having a community on the water. Sadly, there is so much poverty in the area as there is very little fish to sustain the fishing community. The disease is also quite prevalent in the area, particularly as the river is so polluted that it gives off a pungent smell. The people live a communal life, and there are floating markets where women sell everything from vegetables to fish, as well as floating bars where the men father to drink a brand of alcohol called ogogoro.

10. Villa 21-24, Buenos Aires

    • Residents: 40,000

Villa 21-24, in Buenos Aires in Argentina, has become popular for producing Pope Francis. The overcrowded shantytown has all the ills that come with a slum; Crime, violence, prostitution, and gangs. The dwellings are flimsy structures stacked together, and they are mostly made of decayed bricks and wood, which are then covered with rusted metals sheets. The slum currently houses about 40,000 people.  With the intervention of the Catholic Church as well as other international organizations, there is ongoing work to provide basic necessities for the people.

As beautiful as many countries are, there is still a presence of slum in one or more of its cities. 863 million people called a slum their home as of 2012. The rates of negative effects that arise from slums are alarming. They affect everything about a community, from education to natural disasters. This article tends to provide information about the top ten largest slums in the world. This piece of work aids to provide information concerning the abode of some persons in the world.

About a quarter (part) of the world’s urban population lives in slums. A slum is a place that is an overpopulated metropolis, which consists of a highly dense settlement, weak housing units in a situation of the deteriorated or incomplete housing structure, occupied mainly by a broke or poor individual or group (family or any group of friends). Slums are different in size and other featured characteristics, the majority of slums are short of a reliable supply of clean water, sanitation services, law enforcement, reliable electricity, and other basic life necessities. The nature of residences in slums varies from shanty houses to professionally designed and built houses which, because of mediocre construction or provision of basic maintenance is dilapidated.

The Biggest Slums In The World

The increase and the desire of individuals or groups to reside in urban areas have made slums common in various countries. Slums are still predominantly found in urban regions of developing countries but are also still found in developed economies.

Slums form and grow in different parts of the world for reasons which vary. The causes for the rapid increase in slum formation and growth consist of

  1. Rapid rural-to-urban migration;
  2. Informal economy
  3. Forced or manipulated ghetto formation;
  4. Poor planning, politics; and
  5. Economic stagnation and depression;
  6. High unemployment, poverty;
  7. Natural disasters and social conflicts.

Ideas and strategies have been put in place so as to curb the increase and high rate of slum development and transform slums in different countries from the devastated state to something somewhat healthily habitable, with varying degrees of success, this includes an arrangement or consensus for slum removal, relocation of the slum, upgrading of the slum, urban planning with citywide infrastructure development, and public housing.



Maharashtra has over 112 million residences and its capital, Mumbai, India, and has a population of approximately 18 million. Maharashtra is representative of the wealth gap in the country and despite it is one of India’s most developed and wealthiest states, it houses India’s largest and poorest “slum,” the slum area of the state is inhabited by 19 million residents. Within the state, there are seven slums. The slum is compactly inhabited and there are various slum settlements. 7,000 slums out of the 33,000 slums (23%) in India is housed in Maharashtra with homes almost double that of any other slum in the country and it is the most populated region in the world.


Manshiet is the biggest in Egypt; it is situated in Cairo, the population of Manshiet residence is over 1.5 million. It is well known for the Garbage City quarter, a slum settlement at the far southern end of Manshiyat Naser, which is at the base of Mokattam hills on the outskirts of Cairo. Being the largest concentration of Zabbaleen garbages collectors in Cairo’, it serves as sources of livelihood and economy circumvent around the collection and recycling of the city’s garbage. Despite there are streets, shops, and apartments in these as other areas of the city, yet, the infrastructure is poor and most of the time there is no running water, sewers, or electricity.


Coming seventh on the list of the largest slums in the world is a notorious area and it is one of the most dangerous areas in the western hemisphere. The area is highly overpopulated with over 200,000 to 400,000 people. The majority of whom live in extreme poverty and it is generally regarded as one of the poorest and most dangerous areas of the Western Hemisphere and it is one of the biggest slums in the Northern Hemisphere in Haiti. The area has practically no drainage system and it has a poorly maintained open canal system that serves as its sewage system. There are a few businesses in the area but have many local commercial activities and enterprises which serve as a livelihood to the inhabitants, the electricity is not regular though it is free, sparse hospitals, and two government schools are situated in the slum.



Here you have the largest slums in the world, they are being listed based on the population of the inhabitant in the place. More so it shows that some slum though poorly developed yet have their thriving small-scale business to provide their livelihood and cater to their needs. Also, it shows that the majority of the listed slum houses a large part of the population of a nation.

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