Disability and vulnerability are dynamic and intricately linked phenomena. In developed countries, a large body of empirical research shows that persons with disabilities experience inter-alia comparatively lower educational attainment, lower employment and higher unemployment rates, worse living conditions, and higher poverty rates. In developing countries, the still limited body of empirical research points toward individuals with disabilities being often economically worse off in terms of employment and educational attainment, while at the household level, the evidence is mixed. Deriving any conclusions on the association between disability and poverty in developing countries from this literature is problematic, given the lack of comparability of the disability measures, economic indicators, and methods in these studies.
This study aims to contribute to the empirical research on social and economic conditions of people with disabilities in Albania. Using data which not only covers extensively the entire country, but also that includes a thorough measure of disability, this study presents a snapshot of economic and poverty situation of persons with disabilities and their households as of 2011/2012 in Albania. The study uses data from the 2011 Census and the 2012 Living Standard and Measurement Survey (LSMS), both of which include disability measures. It is essential to note that both datasets are cross-sectional, and hence this study can only describe the socioeconomic situations of persons with disabilities at one point in time. No conclusions about the causality between disability and poverty should be drawn based on the descriptive statistics this study presents.
This research is relevant for several reasons. First, it represents the first attempt to quantify and profile the population with disability in Albania. Prior information on health limitations was collected in previous versions of the Albanian LSMS, but the data collected were not thorough. Second, by providing a baseline data on the socioeconomic situation of people with disability in Albania and their households in 2011/2012, it can inform additional disability policies.
The report identifies six major groups of individuals with disabilities. The first two groups of individuals with multiple severe disabilities and no education should be supported through social transfers in order to afford medical support. The next two groups of individuals with disabilities are pensioners, with limited disability, who are too old to work, and need support to go through retirement. The last two groups of individuals with disabilities are people in age of working, with secondary education and either hearing or seeing disabilities, who need support to be included in the labor market.
Profile of PWD in Albania – Census 2011