ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Legal Status and Deprivation in Urban Slums over Two Decades

Laura B Nolan ( is a demographer at Mathematica Policy Research, Oakland. David E Bloom (dbloom@hsph. is the Clarence James Gamble Professor of Economics and Demography at Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health, Boston. Ramnath Subbaraman ( is a research advisor at PUKAR, Mumbai, and teaches at the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston.

In India, 59% of urban slums are “non-notified” and lack legal recognition by the government. Data on 2,901 slums from four rounds of the National Sample Survey
spanning nearly 20 years is used to assess the relationship between a slum’s legal status and the severity of deprivation in access to basic services, including
piped water, latrines, and electricity. There is a progressive reduction in deprivation the longer a slum has been notified. These findings suggest that legally recognising non-notified slums, and targeting government aid to these settlements, may be crucial for improving health outcomes and reducing urban disparities.

The authors are grateful to the anonymous reviewer of this article for their comments, and to Sharmila Murthy, S V Subramanian, and German Rodriguez for feedback on earlier drafts of the manuscript. Ramnath Subbaraman was supported by a Fogarty Global Health Equity Scholars Fellowship (NIAID R25 TW009338), and a Harvard KL2/ CMeRIT award (KL2 TR001100).

Updated On : 16th Apr, 2018


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