Official figures released in Fiji show that the country's squatter population had reached over 56 thouand 4 hundred by the end of last year.
The director of housing, Dharam Lingam, told a weekend workshop that the number of squatter families numbered over eleven thousand.
6 thousand six hundred were indo-Fijians and more than four thousand six hundred indigenous Fijians.
Mr Lingam attributed the alarming rise in the number of squatter families to expiring land leases, rural-urban migration, unemployment and other factors.
He said squatters mostly targetted state land as they knew it was difficult for the government to remove them.
He said housing conditions and sanitation for the squatters were extremely poor with piped sewerage non-existent.