Almost 1 billion people around the world expect to be forced out of their homes against their will in the next five years, a ground-breaking study has shown.
- 1 in 5 people fear losing their homes, a global survey of perceptions of property rights shows
- Insecurity varies widely from country to country: almost half of those living in the Philippines and Burkina Faso fear they will be pushed out, compared to only around 5% in Austria, Finland, Lithuania, Singapore, and Sweden
- Across all regions, renters are significantly more likely to feel insecure compared to those who own
- A lack of financial resources is among the leading reasons cited for feeling insecure in most countries
Prindex, a joint initiative of the Global Land Alliance and Overseas Development Institute (ODI), asked a representative sample of adults in 140 countries how likely it was that they would lose the right to use their homes or land during the next five years. One in five adults said that it was likely or very likely they would be forced out, equivalent to almost 1 billion people.
Conducted just prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the survey likely underrepresents current levels of insecurity now exacerbated by a slumping global economy.
Malcolm Childress, Director of the Global Land Alliance and Co-Director of Prindex said: “The global pandemic has made having a stable, safe place to live an urgent issue. At the same time, our data show that those most likely to feel insecure in their housing – renters, young people, and those on low incomes – are also those that have been hit the hardest economically by the outbreak.”
“While many governments have moved to enact temporary protections, longer-term policy solutions are needed to avoid crisis in many, many countries.”
Regionally, average rates of insecurity are highest in the Middle East and North Africa (28%), and in sub-Saharan Africa (26%); lowest in Europe and Central Asia (12%), North America (14%), and East Asia and the Pacific (15%). Rates in Latin America and the Caribbean (21%) are in between these poles.
Levels of insecurity, however, vary widely within regions. The Philippines, for example, is among the most insecure countries in the world, with almost half of those surveyed fearing being forced out, whereas just 8% of people in Rwanda felt insecure, less than a third of the regional average for sub-Saharan Africa.
Anna Locke, Director of the Sustainable Environments and Societies Programme at ODI and Co-Director of Prindex, said: “These rates of insecurity are alarming. People living in the shadow of eviction struggle to plan for their future, make productive investments, or get an education – with dire ramifications for community development and economic growth.”
“Increasingly, we are also finding links between insecure property rights and other critical global development issues, such as armed conflict, gender inequality, and the climate crisis.”
Those who feared for their future property rights cited factors including lack of funds to pay rent, family disagreements, or land seizures by governments, businesses, or others. Women were more likely than men to expect to lose their home in the event of a divorce or death of their spouse.
Findings from the study include:
- 1 in 5 respondents felt insecure in their homes or other property. That indicates that almost 1 billion adults in 140 countries think it is ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ that they will lose their home against their will in the next five years.
- Across all regions, renters were significantly more likely to feel insecure compared to those that own their home. 45% of renters in the Middle East and North Africa feel insecure, compared to 12% of owners; similar gaps exist in South Asia (42% vs. 13%) and East Asia and Pacific (36% vs. 8%), sub-Saharan Africa (38% vs. 17%), Latin America and the Caribbean (34% vs. 10%), Europe and Central Asia (27% vs. 5%), and North America (19% vs. 6%).
- A lack of financial resources, and being asked to leave by the owner or renter, are among the leading reasons cited for feeling insecure in most countries
To receive an embargoed copy of the data in advance, a report summarising the findings, country-specific infographics, and arrange interviews, contact: Ryan Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org or +33 676 098 027 via phone or WhatsApp.
Notes to editors:
- Prindex will launch our global findings at an online event on 15 July (12.00 - 13.30 UTC). Register via zoom: https://bit.ly/31eOKHk
- From 08.00 ET (14.00 EST) on 15 July, the Prindex global dataset will go live on www.prindex.net, with interactive data visualizations and infographics.
- Prindex collects data on how people worldwide view the security of their right to retain use of their homes and other property, in order to encourage and empower governments, business, and civil society working to build a world where tenure rights are securely protected. Visit www.prindex.net for more details.
Generously funded by DFID and Omidyar Network
The Department for International Development (DFID) leads the UK’s work to end extreme poverty. DFID tackles the global challenges of our time including poverty and disease, mass migration, insecurity and conflict. DFID’s work is building a safer, healthier, more prosperous world for people in developing countries and in the UK too. To learn more, visit
www.gov.uk/dfid and follow on Twitter @DFID_UK
About Omidyar Network
Omidyar Network seeks to create a more equitable economy, promote responsible technology that improves lives, and discover the emergent issues that will shape our future. Established in 2004 by philanthropists Pam and Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay, Omidyar Network has committed more than $1 billion to innovative for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations to catalyze economic and social change. To learn more, visit www.omidyar.com, and follow on Twitter @omidyarnetwork.
Support to Prindex is also provided by PlaceFund, formerly Omidyar Network's property rights initiative. PlaceFund believes having a secure place empowers individuals, creates stronger communities, and leads to a healthier environment. To learn more, visit www.placefund.org, and follow on Twitter @PlaceFund.