December 26, 2018 / 11:06 PM / 8 months ago

Slums on the rise in Chile

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - The number of slums in Chile, one of Latin America’s most prosperous and stable economies, has nearly doubled since 2011, the government said on Wednesday, as an influx of migrants increasingly face a lack of low-income housing and rising rents.

Chile’s Housing Ministry said it had identified 822 slums in Chile that largely lack access to basic services like water, sewage disposal and electricity, an increase of 78 percent from 2011.

The slums comprise a total of 46,423 homes, the ministry said in a statement, of which only 10 percent had access to potable water.

Chile and other comparatively wealthy Latin American nations are absorbing a wave of mass migration from destitute nations in the region such as Haiti and Venezuela, increasing demands on social services.

Immigration into Chile has increased more than sixfold in around 25 years, from 114,500 in the 1992 census to 746,465 last year.

Chile has the highest GDP (gross domestic product) per capita in South America, low levels of corruption and the lowest murder rate, according to figures from the World Bank and InSight Crime, a foundation that analyses organized crime.

The government attributes the rise in slums to the high cost of housing in the northern third of the country, where many migrants enter Chile.

The region is home to many of the world’s largest copper mines, and demand for housing in the relatively prosperous mining outposts has driven up prices in recent years.

Reporting by Antonio de la Jara; writing by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Phil Berlowitz

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