Squalor, the condition of being squalid; filth and misery, is an inevitable negative factor in public order that is inseparably attached to and brought on by population growth.
Squalor is a consequence of total population, and 2) whether you're over the population limit for your city size. Any two cities of the same population with the same governor's building will have identical squalor. A comprehensive examination of the causes of squalor by therother is at the Guild.
Squalor has a negative affect on public order but is capped at 100% in the 1.2 patch. Growth penalties proceed at a tenth the rate of public order penalties (e.g., 15% public order loss is 1.5% growth penalty), and are capped at 25% (at least before the patch). The effects of squalor can be viewed in the settlement details scroll and is represented by dark rats. Health buildings do not reduce squalor at all, but they do counteract it. High levels of squalor can cause the plague.
The effects of squalor may be negated or prevented through a few possible methods:
- The reduction of a target city's population by the recruiting of units.
- Not building high level farms early on can prevent early squalor effects. This is due to the (lack of) rapid increase of population brought on by building these high level farms early on, which do not adjust public order to compensate for the effects of the extra population.
- When in the situation of capturing an enemy settlement, the settlement may be exterminated (sacked in recent total war games) to reduce the population and prevent squalor from further reducing public order.
- Taxes may be increased in the target settlement to discourage further population growth, slowing the oncoming of squalor.
While the above methods reduce the chances of getting high squalor levels, they will also hinder the development of settlements. Squalor can be dealt with later on with larger settlements, when more advanced public order buildings become available to build.
It is also possible to counteract squalor, through any mechanism that increases public order.