Study: 1b people fear losing their homes or land

2020-07-16 03:12:20 GMT2020-07-16 11:12:20(Beijing Time) Sina English

Almost 1 billion people around the world fear losing their homes or land within five years, with owners and tenants in Burkina Faso and the Philippines the most concerned, a survey of 140 nations showed on Wednesday.

About one in five adults worry that their housing, fields or other land could be taken away from them in the near future, hampering their ability to invest or plan, according to the Prindex global property rights index.

“Land and housing insecurity is a huge issue hiding in plain sight,” said Malcolm Childress, executive director of the Global Land Alliance, a Washington-based think tank that compiles the index with the British Overseas Development Institute.

“Tenure security is important for individual decision making and has knock-on effects on what people do with their assets, whether they send their kids to school, or invest in better crops,” he said.

A lack of formal documentation and poor implementation of land laws threaten tenure in many countries, experts say, with more than 5 billion people lacking proof of ownership, according to the Lima-based Institute for Liberty and Democracy.

People in the Philippines and Burkina Faso reported the highest levels of concern, with nearly half of respondents fearing their homes could be taken.

That compared with Singapore and Rwanda, which had the lowest rates of concern in the same two regions, with 4 percent and 8 percent respectively.

“It’s not surprising, given the unrest in both Burkina and the Philippines, that expressed levels of insecurity are rising,” said Karol Boudreaux, chief program officer at land rights charity Landesa.

“Violent conflict displaces many people, and those left as well as powerful actors take advantage to seize properties,” she said in emailed comments. The survey, conducted by US polling firm Gallup, is the largest-ever effort documenting how secure people feel about their homes and land.

Although data was collected before the outbreak of the coronavirus, housing insecurity could further increase as the easing of lockdowns in cities may lead to a rise in evictions.

“We already have a lot of insecurity globally and the pandemic has thrown a huge shock on top of that,” Childess said. “The United States ... is facing a massive eviction crisis.”


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