Staggering photos show what daily life is really like in Dhaka, the most crowded city in the world

  • More than 19.5 million people live in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.
  • It is the most densely populated city in the country spanning 300 kilometers – about 186 miles. That’s more than 23,234 people per square kilometer, just over half a square mile.
  • It is reported that 2,000 people move to Dhaka every day.
  • Out of 164.7 million Bangladeshi, one in four live below the poverty line. Over 3 million people are estimated to live in the slums of Dhaka alone.

Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, is the most crowded city in the world.

More than 19.5 million people live in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. It is the most densely populated city in the country spanning 300 kilometers – about 186 miles. That’s more than 23,234 people per square kilometer, just over half a square mile.

It is reported that 2,000 people move to Dhaka every day. More than 26% of Bangladeshi who flock to Dhaka leave their home cities due to natural disasters and climate change, according to Habitat for Humanity.


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Staggering photos show what daily life in the most crowded cities in the world is really like

Daily life in Dhaka revolves around the local markets. Many laborers work alongside the Buriganga river, which flows through Dhaka and is heavily polluted with human and factory waste.

Out of 164.7 million Bangladeshi, one in four live below the poverty line. As of 2016, an estimated 3.5 million people live in the slums of Dhaka.

Below, see what life is like in the most crowded city in the world:


Dhaka is the largest and most densely populated city in Bangladesh.

Source: World Population Review,World Population Review


More than 19.5 million people live within 300 kilometers — about 186 miles.

Sk Hasan Ali/Shutterstock

Source: World Population Review


That’s 23,234 people per square kilometer, which is just over half a square mile.

Source: World Population Review


There never seems to be enough space for everyone.

Source: Reuters


Rickshaws outnumber cars in Dhaka and are an important source of income and transportation for the poor.

Source: Reuters


In 2011, there were an estimated 1 million tricycle rickshaws in Dhaka and nearly half of all road accidents involve them, reported Reuters.

Source: Reuters


However, most people take the train to commute in and out of the city.

Source: Daily Mail


There are no seats inside the trains and many commuters risk hanging off the side or climb 12 feet to sit on the roof of the train.

Source: Daily Mail


Documentarian Yousef Tushar spent a day at a Dhaka train station and said around 2,000 men, women, and children climb onto a train’s roof at a time, reported the Daily Mail.

Source: Daily Mail


Some people use ladders to get onto the trains, some climb using the windows as leverage, and some get hoisted up by other riders.

Source: Reuters


It’s hard to find space for yourself.

Source: Reuters


Many people in Dhaka work in the booming garment industry.

Source: ABC


But the industry’s workers are paid poorly and lack basic protections.

Source: Reuters


The garment industry was a lifeline in Bangladesh that once employed an estimated 10 million locals.

Source: The World Bank, Reuters


But hundreds of small clothing factories have closed or cut workers after an elimination of global textile quotas in 2005.

Source: The World Bank, Reuters


In 2013, a garment factory collapsed, killing hundreds of workers. Mourners gathered for a mass burial in Dhaka.

Source: Reuters


After garments, shrimp is the second largest export in the country, earning about $US400 million a year and constituting 8% of Bangladesh’s total exports.

Source: Reuters


In fact, much of life in Dhaka revolves around the water.

Source: Reuters


Locals rely on the Buriganga river, which is heavily polluted with human and factory waste.

Source: Reuters


Nonetheless, it’s a part of daily life.

Source: Reuters


They wash clothes in it …

Source: Reuters


… and plastic bags.

Source: Reuters


Some people swim in the river …

Source: Reuters


.. and some collect sand.

Source:

Reuters


Many cobble together ways to make money outside of the river, too.

Source: Reuters


People in the slums of Dhaka will create cakes of cow dung to use as a source of fuel for cooking, or to sell to markets.

Source: Reuters


Workers in Dhaka are legally supposed to be 15 years old or older.

Source: Export.gov, Reuters


In 2013, there were 21.5 million workers in the city between the ages of 15 and 29.

Source: Reuters


However, many young workers start before the age of 15.

Source: Reuters


Local children will collect things to sell at the markets, like hyacinth flowers from a swamp …

Source: Reuters


… or plastic waste from the river.

Source: Reuters


The markets in Dhaka are a huge part of life.

Source: Reuters


They see thousands of customers daily.

Source: Reuters


Vendors will pull up in boats along the Buriganga river to wait on the riverbank for potential buyers of goods like jackfruits.

Source: Reuters


They sell everything from used bottles …

Source: Reuters


… to live cattle …

Source: Reuters


… to fresh eggs …

Source: Reuters


… to produce like onions.

Source: Reuters


Some vendors walk along train tracks selling goods.

Source: Reuters


Lower-grade cattle hides are sold at local markets.

Source:

Reuters


While premium cattle hides are typically produced for export.

Source: Reuters


Vendors camp out all day to sell their wares …

Source: Reuters


… catching some rest where they can find it.

Source: Reuters


The currency used in Dhaka is the Bangladeshi Taka (BDT).

Source: Reuters


Currently, $US1 equates to about 84.34 BDT.

Source: Exchange Rate


As of November 2018, the minimum wage in Dhaka is 5,300 BDT per month.

Sk Hasan Ali/Shuttertstock

Source: Trading Economics


Or $62.83 USD.

Source: Reuters


But that’s for garment workers, not for people scraping by without regular employment.

Source: Reuters


Non-garment laborers work in any condition….

Source: Reuters


…and are given subsidized foods like rice.

Source: Reuters


In the world’s most crowded city, nothing is easy.

Source: Reuters

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