Poverty and disability

disability and poverty are linked

People with disabilities around the world are among the poorest in most societies and are subject to widespread discrimination at all levels of society. It's the worst for girls and women.

All available studies show that people with disabilities continue to lag behind in all socio-economic measurements of health, education, hunger, prosperity and the opportunity for participation in society. People with disabilities are also particularly hard hit by climate change and pandemics.

Living with a disability often means that the person ends up in, or finds it difficult to get out of, poverty. Those who live in poverty and have a disability are often denied their human rights and often have very little opportunity to influence and decide over their own lives. When a person is discriminated against and excluded from both education and work, it becomes more difficult to get out of poverty and many are forced to become dependent on their relatives. Many people with disabilities in the world are also forced to live in isolation in institutions, completely deprived of dignity, opportunities and their human rights. 

Widespread poverty is a fundamental reason why persons with disabilities are not guaranteed their rights. Poverty also prevents people from making demands that give them access to care, aids, education and employment. Working with disability issues is therefore an effective way to increase participation and reduce poverty.

The situation in the world

15 percent of the world's population live with disabilities.

80 percent of all people with disabilities live in poverty.

1 of 5 of the world's poorest have a disability.

In low-income countries live more than one in five women with disability.

1 in 20 children in the world live with disability.

1 of 3 children with a disability do not go to school. In many groups, up to 9 out of 10 children and young people do not have the opportunity for education.

In many countries missing over half of people with disabilities access to care.

Girls and women with disabilities suffer from gender-related violence in ten times higher extent than girls and without disabilities.

128 out of 195 countries in the world has through its statutes or laws restrictions that may restrict the right to vote for people with disabilities.

Discriminated against in many areas

Schools and workplaces are often inaccessible and remain closed to people with disabilities. It is very unusual for schools to adapt their premises or teaching so that children and young people with various disabilities can participate. The labor market is often largely closed to people with disabilities. The challenges for those who have succeeded in getting a job are many and various obstacles make it difficult to keep a job.

Many face major obstacles in health care and do not receive the care, medicine or aids they need. Crises and disasters hit people with disabilities harder and they are more exposed to violence and abuse than others. At the same time, they are often denied both care and help by the police and the judiciary.  

People with disabilities, and their families, are at significantly higher risk of economic and social injustice than others. In many countries there are no social security systems, then it is up to the families themselves to cover the shortcomings of society. It hits hardest on those who are already poor or living right on the brink of poverty.

It is common for relatives, often women, to be forced to leave gainful employment in order to care for a close relative with a disability.

Discrimination and injustice are often due to ignorance on the part of the environment. Ignorance can lead to the emergence of myths about people with disabilities, such as that disability is due to curses or that it is contagious. It can prevent people from getting the support they need.

Poverty causes disability

People living in poverty are at greater risk of developing various types of disabilities. This is often due to malnutrition, poor medical care and lack of access to clean drinking water. For example, malnutrition and vitamin A deficiency can lead to blindness, which is estimated to cause between 250,000 and 500,000 children worldwide to lose their sight each year.

Living in poverty also often means living and working in dangerous and unsafe environments. Poorly built houses provide poorer protection in the event of natural disasters and conflicts, which in turn increases the risk of accidents with an increased risk of disability.