The Global Housing Indicators (GHI) collect reliable, objective, comparable information on the policy environment for adequate and affordable housing.  An extensive assessment tool, the GHI include information on the policies and practices under which housing in a country is (or is not) owned, rented, financed, subsidized, serviced, regulated, planned and built.

The GHI provide evidence for action – a basis for advocates to engage with national and local officials to embrace policies that work and change those that impede progress.  Use this Web site to find a holistic picture of housing policies currently in place.  This information can help inform debate and determine how well these policies contribute to providing access to adequate and affordable housing, especially for the poor. 

The GHI effort is active and ongoing, and we hope you will participate in the process.  We understand that a single assessment, no matter how comprehensive, is not sufficient without discussion, verification, and even disagreement on how policies are captured and described.  We invite you to explore and engage with the GHI. 

The GHI arose from a growing recognition among housing practitioners that a standard format was needed for collecting and analyzing housing policies across cities and countries.  Primarily based on the work of Shlomo Angel and previous efforts by the World Bank and UN-HABITAT, Habitat for Humanity International developed a research agenda that prioritized the need to measure global housing performance and policies and engaged partners to help assess results.     

A timeline of the history of the housing indicators work follows: 

For more information about GHI, please read Global Housing Indicators: Evidence for Action. 

Housing Indicators Initiatives – Past and Present

1988: The Shelter Sector Performance Indicator Programme is established following the adoption in 1988 of the Global Shelter Strategy to the Year 2000 and the United Nations Commission for Human Settlements Resolution 12/1 of 1989, in which UNCHS was requested to provide cost-effective national monitoring of progress towards realizing the goals of the Strategy (UNCHS 1991).

1989-93: The first phase of the Housing Indicators Programme was carried out. (Memorandum of Understanding with the World Bank) This extensive survey was done by consultants in 53 cities, who collected approximately 55 indicators (World Bank/UNCHS 1991, 1992, 1993). Ten indicators focused on housing conditions.

1993: The 14th Session of the Commission for Human Settlements (Resolution 14/13) confirmed the value of the programme and recommended an acceleration of the globalization phase, in which 10 key housing indicators were to be collected in all countries and in a number of cities in each country. It also recommended that countries should use the indicators to measure progress towards meeting the objectives of the Global Shelter Strategy and in particular, that the indicators should provide the basis for country reports in the course of the preparatory process for the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) to be held in Istanbul in 1996.

Late 1993: The decision was made to extend the Shelter Sector Indicators to include a broader set of urban indicators. A new MOU was signed between UNCHS and the World Bank to start the Urban Indicators Programme.

1994-1996: UNCHS collected and analyzed 56 key indicators in 246 cities. The results were presented at the Habitat II Conference (Istanbul, June 1996)

1997: The Global Urban Observatory at UN-HABITAT was established to continue data collection on urban/housing issues through local, national and regional observatories.

2003:UN-HABITAT published global estimates of slum dwellers and set a target for the Millennium Development Goals to improve the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020.

2005:The World Bank’s World Development Indicators introduced several housing-related indicators, collected from national censuses.

2007:A team of researchers at the World Bank collected information about the “thousands of different city (or urban) indicators and hundreds of agencies compiling and reviewing them” as a precursor to launching an effort with the University of Toronto and other partners to produce standardized and consistent city indicators.

2008:The Economic Commission for Europe of the U.N. initiated the Policy Framework for Sustainable Real Estate Markets, which set out 10 principles, including good governance, efficiency of services, and transparency of financing mechanisms, to help promote stability in the sector.

2009:The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the U.N. in partnership with the World Bank created the Land Governance Assessment Framework (LGAF) to help evaluate the legal framework, policies, and practices for land governance and to monitor improvements. Indicators are ranked on a scale of pre-coded statements (from” lack of good governance” to “good practice”). These indicators are grouped into key areas for land policy intervention such as land institutions and dispute resolution. 

2010: The Housing Finance Information Network “HOFINET”launched its housing finance web portal led by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania with support from the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation.   A standardized set of housing market, housing finance and policy measures (including information on household subsidies) was developed based on expert reports, and is available in spreadsheet format.

2011:The International Property Markets Score Card” was created by the Center for International Private Enterprise and the International Real Property Foundation to better understand the risks of property investment (commercial and residential) in a particular country.  The range of indicators include property rights, access to credit, governance, dispute resolution, financial transparency, regulation.

In each country the assessment is completed by a local in-country expert. Data are collected through interviews, examination of documents, and field observations.  The experts do their utmost to find the best possible data sources.  The assessment is then turned over to the Global Housing Indicators Project Team. The team convenes experts both inside and outside the country to review the GHI results, request any necessary clarification from the consultant, and finalize the assessment and prepare it for online posting.

For more information on the methodology, please read Global Housing Indicators: Evidence for Action.


The Global Housing Indicators project is truly a team effort.  With the generous funding support from The Rockefeller Foundation, Habitat for Humanity International, and the Inter-American Development Bank, many other organizations and individuals have engaged as reviewers, advisors, and partners.  

Other noteworthy contributors include:

Habitat for Humanity National Offices


Global Urban Development

International Housing Coalition

World Urban Campaign

The World Bank

Cities Alliance

Housing Finance Information Network (HOFINET)

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Center for Housing Policy

Metropolitan Research Institute

Urban Foundation for Sustainable Development


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