The answer, it turns out, is much more nuanced than people might think.
The American Community Survey (ACS) asked the question, “Which cities are your favorite for people who are visually impaired or have a disability, but not visually impaired?”
The top cities for those who have a physical disability are San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and Los Angeles, while the top cities that are best for people without disabilities are Atlanta, Denver, New York, and Miami.
The answer was more than a dozen cities.
According to data from the American Association of People with Disabilities, the top 10 cities with the largest percentage of people with a disability are Atlanta; Austin; Portland; San Francisco; Seattle; St. Louis; Minneapolis; Denver; Nashville; and Philadelphia.
A number of other cities that were high on the list are Austin, Dallas, Houston, Detroit, and New Orleans.
In a separate study by the American Civil Liberties Union of California, the number of people living with a physical impairment in the United States has increased by nearly 1.7 million since 2000, while it has decreased by about 600,000 in the past 20 years.
The study also found that the rate of people getting physical disabilities in the U.S. has fallen by over 2.7 percent over that time.
While the top five cities that have the largest percentages of people who have disabilities in their neighborhoods have been listed as Atlanta, San Francisco and Seattle, the majority of the top ten cities are in the South, and they are also among the most urbanized.
The top 10 metro areas with the highest percentage of residents who have low- or no-disability income are Chicago, Detroit; Charlotte, N.C.; New Orleans; and St. Paul, Minn.
The list also includes places with some of the most vulnerable populations, including people with mental illness, people with developmental disabilities, and people with learning disabilities.
“These are neighborhoods where we have a disproportionate number of low-income people who also have access to the highest rates of incarceration, and a disproportionate share of those people are in those top 10 areas, which makes these cities particularly vulnerable to those kinds of problems,” said Chris Johnson, the director of the advocacy group Disabled People Speak.
Johnson added that people with special needs can experience “a whole range of problems in their lives,” and that the disproportionate number in these cities is “particularly concerning.”
Johnson said that many of the problems facing the people with physical disabilities are rooted in the economic problems that they face, including job loss, the cost of living, and housing costs.
“The impact on people who live in these areas is just as devastating, because they have to live in the same place, and their children have to grow up with the same school system, and so on,” Johnson said.
“So, you’ve got a lot of people in the middle of that equation, and that makes it harder for them to get by.”