People using basic sanitation services, urban (% of urban population)

Definition: The percentage of people using at least basic sanitation services, that is, improved sanitation facilities that are not shared with other households. This indicator encompasses both people using basic sanitation services as well as those using safely managed sanitation services. Improved sanitation facilities include flush/pour flush to piped sewer systems, septic tanks or pit latrines; ventilated improved pit latrines, compositing toilets or pit latrines with slabs.

Description: The map below shows how People using basic sanitation services, urban (% of urban population) varies by country. The shade of the country corresponds to the magnitude of the indicator. The darker the shade, the higher the value. The country with the highest value in the world is Singapore, with a value of 100.00. The country with the lowest value in the world is Madagascar, with a value of 16.19.

Source: WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) for Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (washdata.org).

See also: Country ranking, Time series comparison

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Development Relevance: Sanitation is fundamental to human development. Many international organizations use hygienic sanitation facilities as a measure for progress in the fight against poverty, disease, and death. Access to proper sanitation is also considered to be a human right, not a privilege, for every man, woman, and child. Sanitation generally refers to the provision of facilities and services for the safe disposal of human urine and feces. Inadequate sanitation is a major cause of disease world-wide and improving sanitation is known to have a significant beneficial impact on people's health. Basic and safely managed sanitation services can reduce diarrheal disease, and can significantly lessen the adverse health impacts of other disorders responsible for death and disease among millions of children. Diarrhea and worm infections weaken children and make them more susceptible to malnutrition and opportunistic infections like pneumonia, measles and malaria. The combined effects of inadequate sanitation, unsafe water supply and poor personal hygiene are responsible for many of childhood deaths. Every year, the failure to tackle these deficits results in severe welfare losses - wasted time, reduced productivity, ill health, impaired learning, environmental degradation and lost opportunities. Fundamental behavior changes are required before the use of improved facilities and services can be integrated into daily life. Many hygiene behaviors and habits are formed in childhood and, therefore, school health and hygiene education programs are an important part of water and sanitation improvements. Most basic sanitation technologies are not expensive to implement. However, those facing the problems of inadequate sanitation may not be aware of either the origin of their ills, or the true costs of poor sanitation and hygiene. As a result, in most of the developing countries those without sanitation are hard to convince of the need to invest scarce resources in sanitation facilities, or of the critical importance of changing long-held habits and unhygienic behaviors. Consequently, the people's representatives - governments and elected political leaders - rarely give sanitation or hygiene improvements the priority that is needed in order to tackle the massive sanitation deficit faced by the developing world. Children bear the brunt of sanitation-related impacts - their health, nutrition, growth, education, self-respect, and life opportunities suffer as a result of inadequate sanitation. Without improved sanitation, many of the current generation of children in developing countries are unlikely to develop to their full potential. Countries that don't take urgent action to redress sanitation deficiencies will find their future development and prosperity impaired.

Limitations and Exceptions: National, regional and income group estimates are made when data are available for at least 50 percent of the population.

Statistical Concept and Methodology: Data on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene are produced by the Joint Monitoring Programme of the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) based on administrative sources, national censuses and nationally representative household surveys. WHO/UNICEF defines basic sanitation facilities as improved sanitation facilities that are not shared with other households. Improved sanitation facilities include flush/pour flush to piped sewer systems, septic tanks or pit latrines; ventilated improved pit latrines, compositing toilets or pit latrines with slabs.

Aggregation method: Weighted average

Periodicity: Annual