The housing context determines the environment in which children grow up, and the social infrastructure available to them. In addition to providing shelter and 'home', housing is inextricably linked to safety and security, access to municipal services, social infrastructure including schools and health services, and economic opportunity.
Dwelling types can be divided into three broad categories: formal, informal and 'traditional'. Children who live in formal housing are more likely to have access to basic services and other social infrastructure provided to formal residential areas.
Children are defined as living in over-crowded dwellings when there is a ratio of more than two people per room (excluding bathrooms but including kitchen and living room). Children are more likely than adults to live in overcrowded conditions.
Clean water is essential for human survival, but more than a third of children still do not have drinking water on site. There has been little improvement in children's access to water over the last six years.
Adequate sanitation includes flush toilets and ventilated pit latrines that dispose of waste safely and are within or near a house. Inadequate sanitation includes pit latrines that are not ventilated, chemical toilets, bucket toilets, or no toilets at all.
Access to electricity in the physical structure of a house is important for a range of reasons. Where there is no electricity, families use other fuels for lighting, heating and cooking, and these can pose health hazards.