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An exploratory factor analysis model for slum severity index in Mexico City

by   Debraj Roy, et al.
University of Amsterdam

In Mexico, 25 per cent of the urban population now lives in informal settlements with varying degree of depravity. Although some informal neighbourhoods have contributed to the upward mobility of the inhabitants, the majority still lack basic services. Mexico City and the conurbation around it, form a mega city of 21 million people that has been growing in a manner qualified as "highly unproductive, (that) deepens inequality, raises pollution levels" and contains the largest slum in the world, Neza-Chalco-Izta. Urban reforms are now aiming to better the conditions in these slums and therefore it is very important to have reliable measurement tools to assess the changes that are undergoing. In this paper, we use exploratory factor analysis to define an index of depravity in Mexico City, namely the Slum Severity Index (SSI), based on the UN-HABITATs definition of a slum. We apply this novel approach to the Census survey of Mexico and measure the housing deprivation levels types from 1990 - 2010. The analysis highlights high variability in housing conditions within Mexico City. We find that the SSI decreased significantly between 1990 - 2000 due to several policy reforms, but increased between 2000 - 2010. We also show correlations of the SSI with other social factors such as education, health and migration. We present a validation of the SSI using Grey Level Co-occurrence Matrix (GLCM) features extracted from Very-High Resolution (VHR) remote-sensed satellite images. Finally, we show that the SSI can present a cardinally meaningful assessment of the extent of the difference in depravity as compared to a similar index defined by CONEVAL, a government institution that studies poverty in Mexico.


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