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A lot of housing is not quite up to snuff. A lot of housing is not quite up to snuff.

Housing in Mexico: deficient, inadequate

Study reveals that adequate housing remains a challenge in Mexico

A study by the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) offers a snapshot of housing, revealing deficiencies and inadequacies.

The director of the City Studies Program at UNAM said that despite government efforts access to adequate housing in Mexico remains a challenge.

A large number of people, especially in the south, must bear with deficient and precarious housing conditions, declared Alicia Ziccardi, who said problems have been brought on by shifting demographics and a rapid urbanization process that have created an unprecedented demand for housing.

This, coupled with unemployment and economic difficulties, have limited access to proper housing for great swaths of the population, she said.

Although the inventory of new housing has increased, along with access to public services, it doesn’t necessarily correspond to the social and economic characteristics of most Mexicans, said Ziccardi.

According to a UNAM poll that assessed living conditions in public housing last year, most Mexicans believe that houses built by the government are small, expensive, poorly built, located far from urban centers and have poor access to services.

The poorest people in the country have to deal with the worst housing available, continued the UNAM specialist.

While citizens of northern and central Mexico — including the greater Mexico City area and the Valley of Mexico — have access to houses built with good quality and durable materials, the situation is rather different in the south.

One-third of residents live in homes with laminate or metal roofing while 10% have dirt floors. Less than half have access to running water and sewer systems whereas in the rest of the country that figure is higher than 75%.

Not only are homes in the south poorly built but they are also too small. Conditions are deemed overcrowded in close to 14%, highest in the country. In central Mexico that percentage is 6% and in northern Mexico it drops to 4%.

Nearly half the houses in the south have only one bedroom.

A breakdown of the percentage of houses whose area is 40 square meters or less is also telling: in the north it is 16%, in central Mexico 10% and in the south, 27%.

While the central and northern regions saw the largest increase in the number of public housing units built between 2000 and 2010, they also reported the largest number of uninhabited dwellings.

A survey by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography, INEGI, found that the infrastructure built does not correspond to the needs of workers, nor to their ability to pay for it. That new homes have been built a long way from places of work didn’t help either.

As a result, only 20% of those polled by UNAM were very satisfied with the location of their houses, while just 10% were very satisfied with the services available, size of the dwelling and the quality of construction materials.

In the south, 30% were very satisfied with the quality of the construction materials, and 20% with the services available, the size of their dwellings and the location of their homes.

Source: Noticieros Televisa (sp)

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