The nexus between disability and poverty: A cross-sectional review


  • Patrick Sibanda Department of Disability Studies and Special Needs Education, Faculty of Applied Social Sciences, Zimbabwe Open University, Zimbabwe.


Disability, Poverty, Martya Sen’s Capability Model, Social model of disability, Vicious cycle, Deprivations, Hardships


Grounded in Martya Sen’s Capability Model and the social model of disability, the purpose of the review is to expose and buttress the interrelationship between disability and poverty. The review explores the ‘unholy’ reciprocity between the two; the demographic measures of disability; education, training and employment of persons with disabilities; the cost of disability and the deprivation and hardship measures of disability and poverty. A vicious cycle has been found to exist between the two since disability and poverty are a cause and consequence of each other. Literature is replete with evidences of a positive correlation between the two phenomena. The review established that the vicious cycle of disability and poverty is exacerbated by the high cost of disability and further deepened by deprivations and hardships that often come with disability. This is a universal occurrence in all economies of the world such that persons with disabilities even in high economies are relatively poor. This scenario pushes people with disabilities deeper into dependence and vulnerability.’ Unfortunately, the existing literature seems to have universally accepted this vicious cycle as an automatic and natural occurring phenomenon when the root cause is actually negative societal attitude, stigma, stereotype and deliberate lack of support as well as marginalisation and systematic social exclusion of persons with disabilities.  This author however deviates from this universal framing of the vicious cycle and recommends further research, advocacy and intervention that are informed by the need for socioeconomic empowerment of persons with disabilities to achieve independent living.


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How to Cite

Sibanda, P. . (2020). The nexus between disability and poverty: A cross-sectional review. Scientific Journal of Pure and Applied Sciences, 9(9), 965-974. Retrieved from



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