Housing which does not provide enough protection against weather conditions, enough living space, sanitation or light, raises the risk of disease and early death.
The housing of indigenous people may be provided by their employers, as in the case of the reservations in North America and Australia and the mining camps in South America. It may be built by the indigenous people themselves but subject to restriction by their employers, such as agricultural labourers' accommodation on South American haciendas over which they have no right of ownership. Mineworkers in Bolivia and Peru suffer from serious overcrowding in large camps with no sanitation or water supply, no light or ventilation in the houses. Agricultural labourers build flimsy dwellings since they are temporary and cannot be owned. Their animals share the living space. These people may be less well-housed than the pedigree animals on the estate for which they are working. Indians in the USA are deficiently housed on reservations or tend to occupy slums in urban areas owing to low wages and discrimination in employment. Many indigenous people in mountain areas suffer from respiratory diseases owing to inadequate protection against the cold. In Chihuahua in Northern Mexico, Indians live in caves.