The urban poor are particularly vulnerable in times of crisis due to their heavy reliance on the cash economy, job losses and wage reductions in urban based industries, and no agricultural production to fallback on. Prioritizing investments in cities can help to mitigate impacts in the short run and reduce risks in the future.

This paper provides an overview on what has been learned about urban poverty over the past decade with a focus on what is new and what the implications are for the World Bank going forward in an increasingly urbanized world. Coverage includes current nformation on the scope of urban poverty, identification of the key issues for the urban poor, a summary of regional characteristics of urban poverty, what has been learned from programs and policies aimed at the urban poor, and finally, the paper identifies priorities for urban poverty reduction within the context of an overall urban strategy.