Disability and poverty are interconnected with each other. This entangled relationship and the complexity of disability itself have hampered our understanding of poverty among persons with disabilities. This paper attempts to estimate the more accurate gap in multidimensional poverty between persons with and without disabilities in South Africa using a matching method and large-scale household survey data. This paper also decomposes the gap in multidimensional poverty between persons with and without disabilities using a matching-based decomposition method, in which it is mathematically shown that the decomposition method embraces the average treatment effect on the treated. The results reveal that persons with disabilities are more deprived in multidimensional poverty than matched persons without disabilities, particularly in terms of the breadth of poverty. The gap between them is larger for the subgroups of persons with difficulties in intellectual functionings and with multiple difficulties, and among adult males, Africans, Coloureds, or residents in rural areas. While a large part of the gap is attributable to disability for the younger group, the gap for the older group is explained not only by disability but also other factors, indicating the existence of multiple discrimination in South Africa.
Keywords: Disability, Multidimensional poverty, South Africa, Matching, Decomposition analysis