2020's Best & Worst Cities for People with Disabilities

Thursday, October 1, 2020

The personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2020's Best & Worst Cities for People with Disabilities

ince the Americans with Disabilities Act was enacted in 1990, many social barriers have been removed or reduced for people with disabilities. But there is more work that needs to be done for people with disabilities to become more independent and involved in their world.

People with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, like all Americans, have a right to live in their own homes, in the community. Adults should control where and with whom they live, including having opportunities to rent or buy their own homes, and must have the freedom to choose their daily routines and activities.

In the US 61 million adults are live with a disability. Two in five age 65 years and older have a disability. The amount of money Americans receive monthly for disability on monthly basis is different for each individual. This is due to the fact that the Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a complex weighted formula in order to calculate benefits for each person, up to the maximum benefit of $3,011 in 2020.

With October being National Disability Employment Awareness Month and the average monthly Social Security disability benefit at only $1,126.02, barely enough to keep an individual out of poverty, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2020's Best & Worst Cities for People with Disabilities.

In order to ease the process of finding the best place to live while managing a disability, WalletHub compared more than 180 U.S. cities across 34 key indicators of disability-friendliness. The data set ranges from wheelchair-accessible facilities per capita to rate of workers with disabilities to quality of public hospital system.

Best vs. Worst

  • Cleveland, Ohio, has the highest share of people with disabilities living in the area, 20.40 percent, which is 3.7 times higher than in Irvine, California, the city with the lowest at 5.50 percent.
  • Pearl City, Hawaii, has the lowest share of people with disabilities living in poverty, 8.89 percent, which is 5.1 times lower than in Rochester, New York, the city with the highest at 45.07 percent.
  • Bismarck, North Dakota, has the lowest median annual cost of in-home services, $32,032, which is 2.5 times lower than in Rapid City, South Dakota, the city with the highest at $80,080.
  • Fremont, California, has the highest median annual earnings for people with disabilities, $36,726, which is four times higher than in Burlington, Vermont, the city with the lowest at $9,290.

WalletHub Q & A

In evaluating the best cities for people with disabilities, what are the top five indicators?

"Government support for transportation for people who cannot drive and who find typical mass transit impossible or too difficult," said Roger S. GottlebWorcester Polytechnic Institute. "Availability of home health aides and group home staff making a decent salary. A general culture of inclusion in which the attempt is made to include people outside the ablest norm. In particular: religious institutions that put a premium on inclusion, respect, welcoming. Support organization of/for people with disabilities that offer resources, lobby, and create opportunities to socialize."

"Housing affordability, accessible public housing, and the availability of affordable in-home services and personal care," said Susannah B. MintzSkidmore College. "Availability and accessibility of employment, including Employment First programs, and quality of public transportation. Effectiveness of state Medicaid programs. Local infrastructure—wheelchair and ramp access to public buildings, shopping, restaurants, parks, art, and entertainment; captioning and other assistive technologies in public settings. Availability of home health care, personal assistance, and occupational therapy per capita."

"The built environment (e.g., wide sidewalks with good curb cuts, sidewalks all over town, ramps, etc.), access to equipment and assistive technologies (e.g., high-quality wheelchair, internet access), excellent transportation services, good healthcare with PCPs who know how to treat people with certain types of disabilities," said James H. Rimmer, PhDLakeshore Foundation.

What can be done to facilitate better access to health care, testing sites and critical information when it comes to COVID-19 for people with disabilities?

"Just guaranteeing that places are accessible," said Lennard J. DavisUniversity of Illinois at Chicago.

"This is another subject that is dear to my heart," said Annette BourbonniereUniversity of Rhode Island. "Access to healthcare in general is very limited for persons with disabilities. Sometimes it is a matter of cost since individuals or their families have to make the choice between finding ways to afford the deductibles and copayments and reducing the resources to the level where public programs will assist. Other times, persons with disabilities encounter actual physical access to routine healthcare. Exam tables are often way too high for an individual with mobility disabilities to access; few medical offices, both private and hospital-based, have appropriate lifts or scales. Additionally, a frightening number of healthcare providers have very negative attitudes toward persons with disabilities."

"Universal, Citizen Based Healthcare not designed with neo=liberalism as a foundation (as opposed to employment-based granted healthcare)," said Thomas J. Neuville, PhDMillersville University. "Federal, state, and local governments reliant on science and resistant to the culture of anti-science. Guaranteed Minimum Income."


To view the full report and your city's rank, please visit: