Today is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, and I wanted to share some data from the latest Bolivian Population Census (2012), which was unusual, because it included questions about disabilities for the first time. According to this census, disability is not that common in Bolivia. Less than 2% of the population have difficulties seeing, and less than 1% have difficulties either hearing, speaking, walking or remembering (see Figure 1).
Figure 1: Percentage of the Bolivian population with some kind of disability, 2012
Still, about 7.6% of private households has at least one member with at least one type of disability. These households are of potential concern for the Sustainable Development Goals and the Leave No-one Behind goal, as it may be more difficult for them to reach the universal goals.
Figure 2 shows how households with at least one member with a disability fare compared to households with no members with any disability. Surprisingly, the households with disability seem to fare better in most dimensions: They are more likely to have piped water, electricity, sanitation, telephones, and personal identification. They are about equally likely to have all their kids in schools, but they are more likely to have a household member who can’t read and write.
Figure 2: Share of households with deficiencies in basic services, by disability status, 2012
These results suggest that in the past people with disabilities may have had trouble getting access to even basic education, but that current policies are actually treating people with disabilities relatively well (at least, in terms of several of the sustainable development goals, they are doing no worse than the rest of the population).
The Bolivian government has recently passed a new law (No. 977 of 26.09.2017) which gives people with disability preferential access to both public and private sector jobs. According to this law, at least 4% of jobs in the public administration and 2% in private enterprises should be occupied by people with disabilities. To disabled persons who cannot work, the government will pay a modest stipend of Bs. 250 per month (1).
The law will enter into action next month. To qualify and count, though, people have to register in the “Sistema de Información del Registro Único de Personas con Discapacidad” of the Ministry of Health. Any volunteers at INESAD?
* Senior Researcher at INESAD. The viewpoints expressed in this blog are the responsibility of the author and may not reflect the viewpoints of all members of Fundación INESAD.