Disability and Poverty in Developing Countries: A Snapshot from the World Health Survey

Disability and poverty are dynamic and intricately linked phenomena. In developed countries, a large body of empirical research shows that persons with disabilities experience inter alia comparatively lower educational attainment, lower employment and higher unemployment rates, worse living conditions, and higher poverty rates. This study aims to contribute to the empirical research on social and economic conditions of people with disabilities in developing countries. Using comparable data and methods across countries, this study presents a snapshot of economic and poverty situation of working-age persons with disabilities and their households in fifteen developing countries. This research is relevant for several reasons. First, it contributes to a currently small body of empirical evidence on the economic status of persons with disabilities in developing countries. Second, by providing a baseline data on the economic well-being and the poverty status of working-age persons with disabilities and their households in 2003 in the countries under study, it can inform national disability policies. Finally, this study can also inform future data and research efforts on disability in developing countries. This study is structured as follows. Section two provides definitions and some background on disability and poverty. Section three describes the data and methods. Section four presents disability prevalence estimates in the fifteen developing countries under study and results on the economic well-being of working-age population at the individual and household levels. Section five gives results of an analysis of multidimensional poverty across disability status. Section six concludes definitions and some background information on disability and poverty, describes some of the linkages between them and reviews recent literature on the socioeconomic status of persons with disability.