Disability and Poverty

Persons with disabilities are among the poorest members of society. 20 percent of the poorest people in the world are disabled (source: UN). Poverty is one of the leading causes of disability. Disability, in turn, often leads to poverty and a person with a disability faces social and economic exclusion from her family and community. This link between disability and poverty is called the vicious circle of disability and poverty.

Disability and poverty form a vicious circle that is difficult to break.

The vicious circle of disability and poverty is boosted by the fact that people who experience poverty do not have access to nutrition and water, sufficient health care, and safe living environment. Thus, a situation, an environmental condition or a health condition that could be prevented or cured disables the poor person. 20 percent of disability is caused by malnutrition, which may, for instance, lead to blindness.

A disabled community member becomes discriminated against and stigmatized and is not able to participate in education, employment, and society.  Disability may cause constant medical expenses, which reduce the resources of a household.

A way to cut the vicious cirle is to improve the education and employment opportunities of people with disabilities.