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Mapping changes in housing in sub-Saharan Africa from 2000 to 2015

Tusting, Lucy S.; Bisanzio, Donal; Alabaster, Graham; Cameron, Ewan; Cibulskis, Richard; Davies, Michael; Flaxman, Seth; Gibson, Harry S.; Knudsen, Jakob; Mbogo, Charles; Okumu, Fredros O.; von Seidlein, Lorenz; Weiss, Daniel J.; Lindsay, Steve W.; Gething, Peter W.; Bhatt, Samir

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Lucy S. Tusting

Donal Bisanzio

Graham Alabaster

Ewan Cameron

Richard Cibulskis

Michael Davies

Seth Flaxman

Harry S. Gibson

Jakob Knudsen

Charles Mbogo

Fredros O. Okumu

Lorenz von Seidlein

Daniel J. Weiss

Peter W. Gething

Samir Bhatt


Access to adequate housing is a fundamental human right, essential to human security, nutrition and health, and a core objective of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals1,2. Globally, the housing need is most acute in Africa, where the population will more than double by 2050. However, existing data on housing quality across Africa are limited primarily to urban areas and are mostly recorded at the national level. Here we quantify changes in housing in sub-Saharan Africa from 2000 to 2015 by combining national survey data within a geostatistical framework. We show a marked transformation of housing in urban and rural sub-Saharan Africa between 2000 and 2015, with the prevalence of improved housing (with improved water and sanitation, sufficient living area and durable construction) doubling from 11% (95% confidence interval, 10–12%) to 23% (21–25%). However, 53 (50–57) million urban Africans (47% (44–50%) of the urban population analysed) were living in unimproved housing in 2015. We provide high-resolution, standardized estimates of housing conditions across sub-Saharan Africa. Our maps provide a baseline for measuring change and a mechanism to guide interventions during the era of the Sustainable Development Goals.


Tusting, L. S., Bisanzio, D., Alabaster, G., Cameron, E., Cibulskis, R., Davies, M., …Bhatt, S. (2019). Mapping changes in housing in sub-Saharan Africa from 2000 to 2015. Nature, 568, 391-394.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 20, 2019
Online Publication Date Mar 27, 2019
Publication Date Mar 27, 2019
Deposit Date Apr 1, 2019
Publicly Available Date Apr 1, 2019
Journal Nature
Print ISSN 0028-0836
Electronic ISSN 1476-4687
Publisher Nature Research
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 568
Pages 391-394


Published Journal Article (Supplementary information) (780 Kb)

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Supplementary information This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit

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