Homelessness Statistics In Africa


Getting an accurate picture of African homelessness is extremely challenging. Definitions of homelessness vary from country to country. Census data is typically collected based on household and, while most census data takes into account those living in shelters and receiving government aid, census takers struggle to count the “hidden homeless” – those who may be residing in inadequate settlements such as slums, squatting in structures not intended for housing, couch surfing with friends and family, and those who relocate frequently.

MIFA Homelessness Statistics On Africa


Approximately 45% of the country’s 20 million population live below the poverty line. Women, boys and girls aged 6-59 months and the elderly are the most affected by persistent food and nutrition insecurity, especially in rural areas. (World Food Programme, 2018)


Insecurity due to long-running tensions in the North-West and South-West have forced more than 430,000 people to flee their homes. More than 380,000 people need shelter, and some 418,000 people need NFI assistance.


An estimated 3,000 children suffering from life-threatening severe acute malnutrition (SAM) require urgent treatment.


The humanitarian situation has fast deteriorated, with estimates stating a total of 1.3 million people are in need of assistance. (Relief Web/UNOCHA, 2019)


In 2017 the poverty rate was 42.7%, with 90% of poor people living in rural areas (World Bank, 2019). In urban areas, the number of people living in slums continues to rise due to rapid urbanisation (The Atlantic, 2018).


More than 80% of the population lack adequate housing (UNDP, 2012). In Bamako alone there are estimated to be around 500 children living on the street (South World, 2018).


In 2018, 126,000 people were displaced due to conflict (Internal Displacement, 2019).


There are an estimated 24.4 million homeless people in Nigeria. This is a consequence of many factors, including rapid urbanisation poverty (UNHCR, 2007), and actions by Boko Haram. In 2018 613,000 people were displaced due to natural disasters, and a further 541,000 due to violence and conflict (Internal Displacement, 2019).


70% of Lagos’ population live in informal housing, and many face homelessness due to the authorities’ attempts to curb the capital’s rapid growth (CBC, 2017).


Malawi’s national poverty rate has risen from 50.7% in 2010 to 51.5% in 2016 (World Bank, 2017). In a country of 18.6 million people, there are around 1.5 million orphans and vulnerable children (Habitat, 2019).


In 2019, Cyclone Idai left roughly 90,000 people displaced as a result of the devastation (Independent IE, 2019).


Some 252,000 people, or 34% of the urban population, live in slums in Namibia’s cities (Reall). They are regularly under the threat of natural disasters such as floods, which every year leave thousands of people homeless (Relief Web, 2004).


55% percent of Guinea’s population, roughly 7 million people, live below the poverty line, particularly women and young people (World Food Programme, 2018).


Experiencing rapid population growth and urbanisation, Guinea is struggling with providing sufficient housing. In 2015, 43.3% of the urban population lived in slums, and 33% of the entire country had no access to decent sources of drinking water (UNSD, 2019)


In 2016, 50.9% of the population lived below the national poverty line (World Bank, 2019).


In the capital Monrovia, 90% of the population are at risk from sea and river flooding, and two thirds of Monrovians live in unplanned and slum communities (Open DRI, 2018).


People living in rural areas make up 75% of the poor population (Relief Web, 2017).


2017 estimates state that 47% of Togo’s population live in poverty (World Bank, 2019). According to AJDD, about 100,000 people are homeless in Togo, half of them residing in Lomé solely. Annually, there are 200 new cases of children living on the street in the capital Lomé alone (Harambee Africa, 2019).


51% of the urban population live in slum housing (UNMDG, 2019).


Due to rapid urbanisation and poverty, Zambia is facing a serious shortage of housing. UN Habitat estimates that around 70% of the urban population live in informal settlements. About half a million young children live on the streets (SOS Children’s Villages).


54% of the population live under the poverty line, and 41% of children in Zambia experience multidimensional poverty (World Bank, 2015; UNICEF).


Over 66% of Ugandan’s live in inadequate housing, and there is currently a deficit of 1.6 million housing units (Habitat, 2019).

In 2018, 173,000 people were displaced from their homes due to natural disasters and violence (Internal Displacement, 2019)


More than 72% of Zimbabweans live below the poverty line (CIA World Factbook, 2012), and 62% of the households have also been deemed poor (UN, 2011). The country’s unemployment rate was estimated a 11.3% in 2014, this however, is believed to be a huge underestimation, since the country’s conditions prevent from accurate data gathering.


The national housing shortage is estimated at more than 1 million, with more than 1.2 million people on the government’s national housing waiting list.



Ghana has an urban population of 14 million, 5.5 million of which live in slums (Africa Research Institute, 2016).

Households are often overcrowded; on average there are between 10 and 20 people sharing a room (Habitat, 2016).

In 2018, 66,000 people were displaced due to natural disasters and violence (Internal Displacement, 2019).


The housing deficit is estimated at 40,000 units per year, and urbanisation keeps worsening the problem (Habitat, 2019). In 2018 there were 3,900 people displaced by violence and natural disasters (Internal Displacement, 2019).

56% of the population were reported to be living in slums in 2015 (World Bank, 2015).


95% of the population is concentrated in a narrow strip of fertile land along the Nile River, which represents only about 5% of Egypt’s land area.

27.8% of the population live below the poverty line. (CIA, 2019)



The main causes of homelessness in South Africa stem from a significant housing shortage, 28% unemployment, and urbanization (CIA, 2017). As of 2015 there are 200,000 homeless people living on the street alone and massive inequality is rampant, with roughly 79% of the population under the poverty line (DW, 2019).


In 2012, about 2 million Kenyans were homeless and the number is steadily increasing by about 200,000 Kenyans per year. About 68% of all Kenyans do not own land and have a higher risk of contracting infections and diseases


Jul 18, 2019 - In 2017, more than three out of every four citizens of the country lived on less than $1.90 a day. With poverty rates being so high, it has to be a main goal in Madagascar's government and international community to fix this problem.

However the rate of urbanization is 29 percent which is very high, meaning that there are increasing slum areas with poor housing conditions


In 2015, poverty rate for Benin was 49.5 %. Poverty rate of Benin increased from 48.8 % in 2003 to 49.5 % in 2015 growing at an average annual rate of 1.02 %.


In 2015, the U.N. ranked Chad 185 out of 188 countries measured in terms of HDI. This low score means that on average, Chad is not only less developed than most other countries, but it's people live shorter lives, are undereducated and are relatively unproductive in terms of GNI.


With a poverty rate of 44.1% and a per capita income of $420, Niger is one of the world's poorest nations


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