The Best and Worst Cities for People With Disabilities

For people with disabilities, the search for a place to call home involves considering healthcare, transportation, accessibility, and more. WalletHub compared 150 cities to find the most disability-friendly places nationwide. Some cities have yet to board the inclusion train, but others are well on their way to accommodation station.

Let’s see whether your city is on the right track with disability support. First, we’ll look at the 10 best cities — one spot in “Middle America” goes above and beyond (page 10) — and then we’ll head to the very worst.

10. Chandler, Arizona

person in a wheelchair
Wheelchair accessibility is strong in Chandler. | Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images

The Grand Canyon State is home to vast deserts and Western influences. Chandler, Arizona, a suburb southeast of Phoenix, is also quite welcoming to people with disabilities. The median household income of working-age people with disabilities in Arizona was $40,300 in 2014. And the employment rate of people with disabilities was 33.2%. Considering the cost of living and weather characteristics, Chandler residents do far better than most when it comes to disability services.

Next: Head here if you favor healthcare over comfort.

9. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

oklahoma city from the sky
Oklahoma City | Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

In Oklahoma City, 9.8% of people live with a disability. WalletHub notes that OKC has the highest number of doctors per capita but one of the lowest percentages of walkable trails available to those with mobility restrictions. So those who favor healthcare over comfort should consider Oklahoma City.

Next: If sunshine and happiness are your priorities…

8. Irvine, California

California coast
The coast of California | Matt Snodderly/Shutterstock

Surprise, surprise. It will cost people of all abilities to live in Irvine, California. But according to WalletHub, it’s worth it. Irvine ranks high for its healthcare and quality of life — both crucial to those with a disability. You can be a trendsetter for people with disabilities in the Irvine area, too. Only 3% of the population report having a disability.

Next: A home for disabled workers seeking happiness — minus the tourists

7. Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii
Honolulu, Hawaii | Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images

Finding your forever home requires some give and take. A Honolulu house costs $635,000 on average, even though Hawaii’s median income for people with disabilities is $66,100. Although this city doesn’t score very high for its economy, reports WalletHub, its No. 1 quality-of-life ranking lands it solidly in the top 10 cities for people with disabilities.

Next: The Golden State has golden opportunities for the disabled.

6. Huntington Beach, California

Patient tells the doctor about her health
A woman talks to her doctor about insurance options. |

WalletHub ranks Huntington Beach ranks pretty well for its cost of living and quality of life. But what puts Huntington Beach in such a high spot is its No. 7 score in healthcare.

Next: A place for independent people with disabilities

5. Peoria, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona, with its downtown lit
Peoria is a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona. |

Arizona’s Developmental Disabilities program reports that 99% of its participants live in their own homes rather than institutions. Peoria’s quality of life, economic security, and healthcare are rated highly by WalletHub. Even better, this northwest suburb of Phoenix has the third-lowest percentage of people with disabilities living in poverty.

Next: If you need employment, head to this literal hot spot.

4. Gilbert, Arizona

woman helping senior woman
Gilbert, Arizona, makes living with a disability affordable. |

It’s clear by now that Arizona is an ideal location for people with disabilities in America. Gilbert, a southwest suburb of Phoenix, follows suit. WalletHub noted its high employment rate, ranking No. 4 over all other cities analyzed, for people with disabilities.

Next: Live the “good life” in this accessible city.

3. Lincoln, Nebraska         

Nebraska sign board on a empty road
Lincoln, Nebraska, is the third best city for people with disabilities. |

This Midwest town is a great option for those living with disabilities. Lincoln enjoys a low cost of living and a high employment rate for those with disabilities. Also, WalletHub ranks Nebraska as one of the top 15 states to practice medicine. So residents have plenty of access to primary care doctors and health services.

Next: If you want to live off disability income, choose this city.

2. Scottsdale, Arizona

holding hands
Scottsdale is yet another Arizona city catering to people with disabilities. |

In Scottsdale, about 5.2% of the population has a disability. Those looking to live off of disability income should choose this city. Scottsdale has the second-best economy rating in the U.S., according to WalletHub.

Next: “There’s no place like home” rings true in this Middle America state.

1. Overland Park, Kansas

kansas sign
A fan of the Kansas Jayhawks shows support. | Andy Lyons/Getty Images

It’s middle America’s time to shine. Overland Park, Kansas, nabs the list’s top spot for its high scores in WalletHub’s economy and heath care metrics, though the city’s quality of life ranking was just 78th. It also had the fifth lowestpercentage of people with disabilities living in poverty.

Next: The 10 worst cities for people with disabilities

10. Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Winston-Salem, NC, USA
A view of Winston-Salem, North Carolina | Pollard

Winston-Salem is the only Carolina city in the bottom 10. Years ago, this city saw success because of the tobacco boom and the local company that produced Camel cigarettes. Today, it falls short in all categories, especially health care, as the access to hospitals and doctors is limited.

9. Norfolk, Virginia

Rear view of a loving couple sitting on a rampart
Virginia is not for lovers when it comes to disability accommodations. |

It’s expensive to live in Norfolk, Virginia. WalletHub also ranks it low in quality of life for those with a disability. United Cerebral Palsy’s 2015 Case for Inclusion ranks Virginia 41st out of 50 states for fostering independence and reaching those in need with disability services and programs.

8. Jersey City, New Jersey

Jersey City skyline
The skyline of Jersey City, New Jersey | Agresti Realty

An urban manufacturing town on the Hudson River, Jersey City is the first Northeastern town on the “worst list.” People with disabilities living there face economical and health care hardships, according to WalletHub.

7. Newark, New Jersey

Newark skyline at night
The Newark skyline |

Newark beats Jersey City, barely, as one of the worst cities for people with disabilities. Located outside New York City, residents here experience high living expenses and poor healthcare services. However, easy rail access and transportation save it from being the absolute worst city. WalletHub scores it eighth out of 150 cities for quality of life.

6. Memphis, Tennessee

man singing in memphis
A performance in Memphis | Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Memphis is singing the blues in all three WalletHub categories. Not only do people with disabilities face a higher cost of living than its neighbors, but their quality of life and access to good doctors fall short, too.

5. Buffalo, New York

Buffalo on the road
Even the buffalo don’t want to live in Buffalo, New York. | Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Back east, Buffalo residents feel the sting of a disability. Doctor checkups might put a strain on your wallet, according to WalletHub. Plus, with 112 inches of annual snowfall, just getting around is difficult.

4. Rochester, New York

University of Rochester
University of Rochester |

Rochester is not the most disability-friendly. With the highest percentage of disabled residents living in poverty, according to WalletHub, people with disabilities struggle with healthcare bills, living expenses, and jobs.

3. Providence, Rhode Island

Providence skyline
Providence, Rhode Island |

Providence has the fifth-worst percentage of people with disabilities in poverty. Its near-last place finish in the economy metric, as well as a positively grotesque healthcare score, lands it just outside the worst two cities overall.

2. Anchorage, Alaska

moose in Anchorage
Moose check out downtown Anchorage. |

Not only does Alaskan weather make mobility tough for those with disabilities, but WalletHub scores Anchorage as the second most expensive city for doctor visits. It lands in the five worst cities for the cost of in-home services. And it has the second worst quality of life.

1. Worcester, Massachusetts

Worcester, Massachusetts, USA
Worcester, Massachusetts | Pavone

Of all 150 cities WalletHub analyzed, Worcester has the most work to do to accommodate people with disabilities. It ranks dead last in economic opportunities and cost of living. Fortunately, the state government recently increased efforts to educate in hiring and training people with disabilities. Here’s hoping its dismal disability rating is fleeting.