There has been a general increase in employment and income disparity between people living with disability and those without a disability. Such disparity has led to a decrease in the quality of life for the disabled. Many state planners and policy makers have continuously ignored the plight of people living with disabilities when developing public systems. Basic things such as accessibility to public parks are crucial in making individuals with a disability feel comfortable. There are cities which are ranked as the worst in the US for people living with disabilities. These cities scored poorly on access to quality life, good health care and economic avenues.
Worst Cities in the United States For People With Disabilities
The cities of Baton Rouge, LA., Richmond, VA., Hialeah, FL., Birmingham, AL., Cape Coral, FL., Winston-Salem, NC., Norfolk, VA., Jersey City, NJ., Newark, NJ., Memphis, TN., Buffalo, NY., Rochester, NY., Providence, RI., Anchorage, AK., and Worcester, MA are the worst cities for those living with disabilities. Worcester, MA is the worst of all with an overall score of 34.81. The city scored last in the economy, 95th in the quality of life and 139th in health care. Anchorage, AK has an overall score of 36.27%, receiving 55th on the economy rank but 149th and 145th on the quality of life and healthcare respectively. Baton Rouge, LA., Winston-Salem, NC, Jersey City, NJ, Newark, NJ., Memphis, TN., Buffalo, NY., Rochester, NY., and Providence IR rank poorest in healthcare. Five cities tied with the highest cost of living. These cities are Honolulu, HI., Yonkers and New York, NY., San Jose, San Francisco and Fremont California while Newark, NJ., Detroit, MI., Cleveland, OH., Cape Coral, FL., and Boise, ID., have the least rate of employment for persons with disabilities. The inequality in employment does not reflect the diversity that should be in the workplace. In some cities like Providence, RI., Miami, FL., Detroit, MI., Buffalo, and Rochester New York have a high number of persons living with disabilities who live below the poverty level. Doctors charge more to attend to people with living with disabilities in Worcester, MA., Providence, RI., Boston, MA., Madison, WI., Anchorage, AK., and Milwaukee, WI. Highest cost of in-home services for people living with disabilities is charged in San Jose, San Francisco, Oakland, and Fremont in California State and Anchorage, AK. Public parks in Oklahoma City, Jacksonville, FL., Indianapolis, IN., San Antonio, TX, and Charlotte, NC are not readily available for persons living with disabilities. Little effort went into the parks to make them safe and easy to access.
The findings are based on three thematic areas namely economy, quality of life, and access to healthcare each carrying a maximum of 33.33 points. These areas were evaluated using twenty-five relevant metrics.
In the economy category, seven metrics were used, each carrying specific points. The analysis was done based on housing affordability, cost of living, the employment rate of people with disabilities, the percentage of persons with disabilities living below the poverty line, annual cost of in-home services and median earning for persons with disabilities.
Quality of Life
On quality of life, the metrics examined were percentage of people with disability living in an area, number of special education teachers per 1,000 school aged persons with disabilities, number of wheelchair accessible restaurants per 1,000 residents, number of wheelchair accessible trails per capita, presence of Lyft wheelchair accessible vehicles, percentage of citizen with access to walkable parks, walkability, effectiveness of State Medicaid programs, and graduation rate for students with disabilities among others.
The healthcare score was based on the cost of a doctor visit, average per-person health insurance premium, the number of family doctors and general practitioners per capita, doctors and nurses ranking, quality of public hospital systems, the number of hospitals per capita and percentage of the uninsured population.
The governments in the worst fifteen states for people living with disabilities have put in little effort to make the lives of these people comfortable. These cities should introduce affirmative action policies to make access to healthcare cheaper, to better the economic opportunities and improve the quality of their lives. The fact that the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is on the rise should be a point to consider because these groups rely on jobs and talent.