An informal settler is someone who is part of a group that has established housing on land to which the group has no legal claim. Often informal settlers are known as squatters. When squatters are a part of a group, the group is sometimes called an informal settlement.
The definition of an informal, or squatter, settlement varies by country and depends on a number of different parameters. Generally, an informal settlement is an area in an urban location that is inhibited by poor people who have no access to land or a home. Because many of the settlers have very little resources or work skills, they often feel they have no choice but to occupy vacant land in order to build a shelter.
An informal settlement typically has services that are below legally required standards. This includes electricity, roads, schools, sanitation and water supply, although water may be available by using a hand pump or community standpipes. Informal settlements may also be able to make arrangements to use community electricity or toilet facilities, but in general, these settlements do not depend on public authorities. Informal settlements are largely defined because of the lack of ownership the settlers have on the land in which they have erected shelter. The land is usually located in an undesirable location where housing may not otherwise be present.