Sri Lanka among countries with rising urban poverty

COLOMBO, Oct 20, 2014 (EconomyNext) – Urban poverty levels in Sri Lanka are comparatively low but rising with poverty found mainly in small and medium towns, the Asian Development Bank said in a report.

"Urban poverty in Asia is largely concentrated in small and medium towns," the report on Urban Poverty in Asia said.

It quoted a study of eight developing countries, which include Thailand and Sri Lanka, that show an inverse relationship between poverty and city size.

"Poverty is both more widespread and deeper in small and medium towns than in large or very large cities," the ADB said.

"The greater incidence and severity of consumption poverty in smaller towns are compounded by similarly higher deprivation levels like access to basic infrastructure services, such as electricity, sewerage, and solid waste disposal."

Any strategy for urban poverty reduction that places greater focus on or allocates more resources to metropolitan areas, suffers from a ‘metropolitan bias’, it said.

"National-level estimates indicate a high proportion of the urban poor in Mongolia (30.6 percent) and Afghanistan (29.0 percent) with several Asian countries showing clear trends
toward rising urban poverty expressed both in the shares of the urban poor, and in some cases, in the numbers of the urban poor," the ADB said.

"Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka fall into this category."

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