How many people in the world today are extremely poor? This simple question is, perhaps unsurprisingly, extremely difficult to answer. However, since 1990, The World Bank has attempted to provide an answer by publishing comprehensive estimates of “extreme poverty” that are now widely used to monitor and appraise global policy and poverty reduction strategies. This is the well-known “dollar-a-day” international poverty line, based originally on a sample of developing country’s national poverty lines from the 1980s. (The so-called “dollar-a-day” now stands at $1.90 per day in light of updated global price data.)
Since the 1980s, policies have increasingly encouraged housing provision by the private market. Programs to de-commodify housing such as rent regulations or social housing programs have gradually been terminated and replaced by policies to promote the delivery of housing through profit-making actors. Selling or demolishing social housing, liberalizing rents, or promoting homeownership have come to dominate the policy landscape, not just in Britain or the US, but also across many Western European countries. Programs such as the British Right-To-Buy, HOPE VI in the US, or the Dutch urban restructuring program are widely known, if only exemplary of this wider trend.