The Significance of Disability for Poverty Alleviation towards Post MDGs

IDE Policy Brief


October, 2013
PDF (730KB)
  • Although MDGs does not include “disability” in its eight goals, it is necessary to research “disability and development” for poverty reduction, as well as appropriate policies that include the essence of “disability”, such as Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs). We should continue this effort for Post MDGs, too.
  • Better disability statistics are required to make a proper policy to reduce poverty. For example, our survey indicated that in the Philippines, many PWDs live under the poverty line. However, there are currently few such statistical studies.
  • For effective poverty reduction, governments should utilize disability statistics for related policies, such as micro finance, conditional cash transfer and so on.

In the discussion of MDGs evaluation and Post-MDGs, the importance of the UNCRPD's roles in Poverty Alleviation is now recognized more than ever. We have to fi nd the effective and feasible way not to leave PWDs in the last poorest segments in developing countries. In order to have better decision-making for it, "Disability and Development" studies is indispensable. Amongst them, the Disability Statistics would be very signifi cant. This Paper will demonstrate how studies on Disability Statistics will contribute to Poverty Alleviation by using the individual raw data collected in the Philippines.

1. MDGs and Post-MDGs
8 Goals for the first MDGs do not include ‘Disability’ expressly. However, in many countries, especially developing countries, PWDs are always at serious risk of Poverty. Without proper accessibilities, their situations become worse than ‘Abled’ people.

2. Poverty and Disability Statistics
Our survey on livelihood of PWDs in the Philippines (2008) showed clearly there were many PWDs who live under the poverty line there. With the data at Metro Manila, the percentages of them are more than 40% and it means 4 times as that for general population (see table 1).

Poverty index IDE-PIDS
Survey 2008
FIES 2006
Incidence of
Poverty (Head Court Ratio)
40.80% 10.40%
Poverty Gap Ratio 30.60% 1.50%
Squared Poverty
Gap Ratio
27.00% 0.50%
Note: FIES is the abbreviation of the Family Income and Expenditure Survey which was conducted
by the National Statistical Coordination Board in the whole country in 2006.

3. Significance of Disability Statistics
Most disability statistics are on disability incidence rate and many articles and policy ideas put emphasis on the vicious circle of poverty and disability, and disability inclusive PRSPs.

However, there are few articles with the evidence-based approaches such as those of ours and in Southern African countries by SINTEF in Norway. We need more statistically reliable data and analysis on disability with this approach.

4. Policy Making and Statistics
The policy makers need the data for their appropriate budget planning. Disability incident rate from Census Data would be helpful for them how much percent should be used for their empowerment.

We also know some poverty alleviation tools such as micro-finance. Then we have to decide the proper interest rate for it and the target group. And in Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), we have to have the data to decide the place and the amount for transfer.

These tools are impossible without the livelihood statistics of PWDs.

We need the following points to realize the poverty alleviation of PWDs in MDGs through UNCRPD.
  • Evidence-based effective poverty alleviation policies with disability inclusive development on disability statistics.
  • Cooperation among development specialists, governments and disabled organizations to conduct better disability statistics.
  • Disability as one of the targets in post-MDGs.

  • Mori Soya, ed. (2008) Disability and Development– PWDs and their communities in developing countries, Research Series No.567 (in Japanese).
  • MORI Soya and YAMAGATA Tatsufumi (2009) Measurements to Assess Progress in Rights and Livelihood of Persons with Disabilities: Implications Drawn from the IDE-PIDS Socio-Economic Survey of PWD, IDE Discussion Papers No.218 (available at )
  • Mori Soya, ed. (2010) Poverty Alleviation of PWDs in developing countries-how could they manage their livelihoods? Iwanami-shoten Publishers (in Japanese)
  • Mori Soya and Yamagata Tatsufumi (2013), Positive Analysis of Disability and Development , Keiso-Shobo Publishers (in Japanese).

Soya Mori (Senior Researcher, Development Studies Center, IDE-JETRO).