Chronic poverty and disability

Rebecca Amani Yeo

Research output: Working paper / PreprintWorking paper


This working paper argues that disabled people are disproportionately amongst the poorest of the poor in all parts of the world, and that international development targets are unlikely to be met without including disabled people. Due to the severe exclusion of disabled people from all areas of society, there is a serious lack of comparable or reliable data on incidence, distribution and trends of disability, let alone the extent of disabled people's poverty; the paper begins with a review of what is known about disability in the developing world. Based on an investigation of the causes and consequences of impairment, disability and poverty, the author sketches out a 'vicious cycle of chronic poverty and disability'. The paper moves on to a review of the approaches undertaken by international organisations, governments, NGOs, donors, the private sector, and disabled people's organisations to mitigate or reduce chronic poverty among disabled people. Case studies of the Ugandan and Indian contexts are provided. It is suggested that while there has recently been a shift by some NGOs, donors and governments towards considering the issues of disability rights in their rhetoric, disabled people in many parts of the world have seen little change in terms of concrete action. A proposal for a research agenda on disability and chronic poverty issues concludes the paper, which also includes a glossary and explanation of terms.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherChronic Poverty Research Centre
Number of pages34
ISBN (Print)1-904049-03-6
Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug 2001


  • disability
  • poverty
  • development


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