Poverty and Disability: A Survey of The Literature

  • Citation: Elwan, Anne. “Poverty and Disability: A Survey of the Literature,” World Bank Social Protection Discussion Paper 9932, 1992.
    • Topics:
    • Movements for Inclusion
    • Keywords:
    • disability
    • poverty
    • education
    • employment
    • income
    • children
    • elderly

This review summarizes the literature on disability and its relationship to poverty, including education, employment, income, and access to basic social services. Despite the dearth of formal analysis, it is clear that in developing countries, as in more developed areas, disabled people (and their families) are more likely than the rest of the population to live in poverty. It is a two-way relationship — disability adds to the risk of poverty, and conditions of poverty increase the risk of disability. Disability in developing countries stems largely from preventable impairments associated with communicable, maternal and perinatal disease and injuries, and prevention has to remain a primary focus. An increasing emphasis on community based participatory rehabilitation reflects growing recognition of the inadequacy of past official programs, particularly involving specialized and exclusionary institutions.

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