Best and worst cities for people with disabilities

I’m a Chicago baseball fan, but with the way the Royals have been playing during the 2014 post-season, I’m starting to wish I lived closer to Kansas City. And now, a new ranking of the best American cities for people with disabilities gives me even more reason to move there: the Kansas City, Missouri, suburb of Overland Park was named #1.

The consumer finance website WalletHub says it based its rankings on economic environment, health care, and accessibility:

We analyzed the 150 most populated cities across 23 key metrics, ranging from the number of physicians per capita to the rate of employed people with disabilities to park accessibility. By doing so, we aim to ease the process of finding the best place to live while managing a disability.

Lists like these can be fun, and a ton of folks (including me) get sucked into reading them. I don’t think this one holds much value, though.

In Chicago, the red line subway gets us to 2 major league ballparks!

In Chicago, the red line subway gets us to 2 major league ballparks!

The term “people with disabilities” (PWD) is pretty vague. A PWD can be someone with age-related disabilities, a person who uses a wheelchair, a child with a developmental disability, a returning veteran with a traumatic brain injury – we all have very different needs. A very quick bit of research on Overland Park shows it has a strong public school system, (ideal if you have a child with a disability) and a weak public transportation system (difficult if you’re like me, and your disability prevents you from driving). Three cities in Arizona made the top five, and while people using wheelchairs wouldn’t have to deal with snow and ice in the winter there, those of us who use service dogs would have a hard time keeping them hydrated in the summer.

Chicago ranked way down at 141 on the list, but at least we weren’t last: that honor went to Providence, Rhode Island, at #150. For now, at least, I’m staying here in the Windy City and will settle for watching the Kansas City Royals on TV. The availability of public transportation here lets me live more independently; I know my way around already; and my Seeing Eye dog loves the cold. It’s My Kind of Town.

 

Get more information on accessible transportation from Easter Seals Project Action website.


 

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