Since the 1950s, significant numbers of Moroccans (estimated at over four million) have moved from the countryside to the urban centers to escape rural unemployment. Housing and sanitation, consequently, have become urban problems. The government is engaged in a low-cost housing program to reduce the slum areas, called bidonvilles, that have formed around the large urban centers, especially Casablanca and Rabat. In 2001, a government official reported that about 320,000 families were living in slum areas.
Since 1995, the government has been working on a program to build 200,000 low-cost housing units.
The Moroccan population lives in either traditional dwellings or housing units and flats. Of all urban households, about 43% are rented; 41% are owner occupied; and 12% are rent free. Nearly three-fourths have private kitchens; over 40% have private toilets; over 30% have piped water; and over 37% have electricity.