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Study reveals discrepancy in treatment for disabilities among Alabama and Mississippi cities

wheelchair disability

An online study revealed that certain Alabama and Mississippi cities are inaccessible to those with disabilities.

Personal finance website WalletHub published an online article late last month gathering publicly available statistics from The Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Housing and Urban Development and National Center for Education Statistics, among other sources. The article analyzed 182 American cities using economic, public health and quality of life indicators.

Huntsville, Montgomery, Mobile and Gulfport, Mississippi were among the bottom 10 cities examined. Gulfport was labeled the third worst city in the number of employed residents with disabilities last year and the worst city overall.

Analyst Jill Gonzalez said she hopes Alabama and Mississippi residents acknowledge the results of the study and pull for a change.

“Well, I think it’s a good place to start in terms of your local officials [and] what to point out to them, other cities that might be closer to the same size and see what they are doing, or maybe neighbor cities to see what they might be doing better,” Gonzalez said. “I think it’s definitely a good starting point for improvement.”

This comes as The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a consistently higher unemployment rate among Americans with disabilities than Americans without disabilities. The unemployment rate among Americans with disabilities aged 16 years and older was 9% last month. The unemployment rate among Americans without disabilities was only 4.4%.

Gonzalez said though these numbers are lower than they were last year, some cities lack strong enough treatment and policy to prevent unemployment among residents with disabilities.

“We are seeing it become a little bit better currently, and I think a lot of that has to do with work from home opportunities [and] remote work opportunities,” Gonzalez said. “But still some cities are implementing that more so than others.”

The article also highlights October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The Department of Labor defines this month as a dedication to the contributions Americans with disabilities provide to the workforce.

Gonzalez said she hopes the article will spread more awareness to the annual tradition.

“That’s why we did this study to begin with because of the awareness surrounding people with disabilities in the employment market,” Gonzalez said. “So, that’s why we look at things like economics here. We look at which cities are maybe better at employing those with disabilities. That’s what we’re really shining a light on here.”

Alabama did see some favorable rankings in the study. Birmingham was ranked the third best city for doctor visit costs and Montgomery and Mobile were among the five best cities for in-home service costs.