Understanding Urban Inequalities in Bangladesh: A prerequisite for achieving Vision 2021
This in-depth study, based on the results of the 2009 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, challenges the widely held belief that the situation of urban dwellers in Bangladesh is generally better than those living in rural areas. Historically, most development programmes in Bangladesh have focused on rural areas. However the living conditions in urban slums in Bangladesh are often appalling and, in fact, much worse than those in most rural areas. Evidence from India, China and Brazil indicates that efforts to ease inequalities generate larger dividends for poverty reduction than a more conventional focus on economic growth. Furthermore, the natural trend towards urbanization cannot simply be halted or reversed. In fact, it is an important aspect of the country’s development process and inherent in its evolution from a low income country to a middle-income country. This paper argues that it is time for policy-makers in Bangladesh to accept this new paradigm and invest in urban slums.