Living Conditions, Rents, and Their Determinants in the Slums of Nairobi and Dakar

Sumila Gulyani, Ellen M. Bassett and Debabrata Talukdar


Using data from 3,715 slum households in Nairobi and Dakar, we find living conditions for tenants are worse than for owners, although tenants pay significant rents. Compared to Nairobi, both nominal rents and living conditions are higher in Dakar. Despite differences in respective slum rental markets, determinants of rent in both cities are strikingly similar. Analysis suggests that tenure mix—proportion of tenants to owners—affects what is available for rent and overall living conditions. Ensuring a certain proportion of housing is owner occupied may be instrumental for delivering greater choice for tenants and better living conditions for all slum residents. (JEL R21)

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