By Richie Bernardo, WalletHub — When searching for a new place to call home, people with disabilities often have a longer and more complicated list of considerations compared with healthier individuals. In addition to common wish-list items, such as reliable public transportation and diverse entertainment options, people with major health conditions also must think about, for instance, accessibility of facilities or even the cleanliness of the air. (* Salt Lake City ranked #4.)
According to the Social Security Administration, one in five Americans lives with a disability, and one in 10 has a severe disability. Managing poor health can be quite expensive, considering the high cost of U.S. health care. To add insult to injury, disability checks for most beneficiaries are insufficient for monthly living expenses — let alone disability-related costs. “At the beginning of 2015, Social Security paid an average monthly disability benefit of $1,165” according to the SSA. “That is barely enough to keep a beneficiary above the 2014 poverty level ($11,670 annually).”
Although disability benefits can increase based on inflation, many people with disabilities rely on low cost of living and wages for financial relief. In 2016, nearly 5.4 million people with disabilities were employed. But the unemployment rate for this group has risen in recent years, concerning those who hope to earn a living in order to cover the shortfall in income.
With the physical and economic challenges of managing a disability in mind, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 150 most populated cities across 28 key indicators of disability-friendliness. Our data set ranges from physicians per capita to rate of workers with disabilities to park accessibility. Read on for our findings, expert insight from a panel of researchers and a full description of our methodology.
1. Overland Park, Kansas
2. Grand Rapids, Michigan
3. Denver, Colorado
4. Salt Lake City, Utah
5. Aurora, Colorado