When many of us think of the world’s poorest children, the image that comes readily to mind is that of a child going hungry in a remote rural community in sub-Saharan Africa – as so many are today. But as The State of the World’s Children 2012 shows with clarity and urgency, millions of children in cities and towns all over the world are also at risk of being left behind. In fact, hundreds of millions of children today live in urban slums, many without access to basic services. They are vulnerable to dangers ranging from violence and exploitation to the injuries, illnesses and death that result from living in crowded settlements atop hazardous rubbish dumps or alongside railroad tracks. And their situations – and needs – are often represented by aggregate figures that show urban children to be better off than their rural counterparts, obscuring the disparities that exist among the children of the cities. This report adds to the growing body of evidence and analysis, from UNICEF and our partners, that scarcity and dispossession afflict the poorest and most marginalized children and families disproportionately. It shows that this is so in urban centres just as in the remote rural places we commonly associate with deprivation and vulnerability.