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Dirtiest Cities in America


What are the Dirtiest Cities in America? What do we mean by Dirty? NO, not that kind of dirty!


Pests, pollution, and poor infrastructure plague many U.S. cities big and small — and the problem’s worse in some than in others.


So which cities are due for a good spring cleaning?

LawnStarter‘s 2021’s Dirtiest Cities in America compares the 200 biggest U.S. cities across 20 key indicators including air and water quality, waste regulations, and the share of homes with signs of mice or rats.


Here are the 20 cities that might scare away a germaphobe and the 20 that might earn a nod from Mr. Clean, followed by some highlights and lowlights.


Dirtiest Cities in America

Rank City

1 Palmdale, CA

2 Los Angeles, CA

3 Newark, NJ

4 Houston, TX

5 San Antonio, TX

6 New York, NY

7 New Orleans, LA

8 Long Beach, CA

9 Memphis, TN

10 Chicago, IL

11 Aurora, IL

12 Glendale, CA

13 Mesa, AZ

14 Phoenix, AZ

15 Fontana, CA

16 Pasadena, CA

17 Anaheim, CA

18 Detroit, MI

19 Las Vegas, NV

20 San Jose, CA


Cleanest Cities in America

Rank City

181 Oceanside, CA

182 Sioux Falls, SD

183 Enterprise, NV

184 Springfield, MO

185 Fort Wayne, IN

186 Des Moines, IA

187 Chesapeake, VA

188 Salem, OR

189 Little Rock, AR

190 Lincoln, NE

191 Lexington, KY

192 McKinney, TX

193 Clarksville, TN

194 Elk Grove, CA

195 Metairie, LA

196 St. Paul, MN

197 Dayton, OH

198 Madison, WI

199 Frisco, TX

200 Winston-Salem, NC


Highlights and Lowlights:

The Golden -- and Smoggy -- State: One state appears most often in the top ranks: California. Eight Golden State cities are in the top 20, and seven of those cities are in the Los Angeles metro area. LA-area cities scored especially poorly on pollution metrics, such air quality and fuel consumption. And with LA’s famous smog hitting pollution records even during the pandemic, the skies won’t be clearing anytime soon.

Bigger -- and Dirtier -- Cities: The filthiest cities are often also the largest, as five of the 10 most populated U.S. cities found their way into our own top 10 list. These megacities (New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, for example) performed especially badly in our living-conditions metrics, with New York City having the highest percentage of homes with signs of mice or rats. It’s no surprise then that New York’s Pizza Rat became a viral video sensation.

Roach Motel Cities and States: When it comes to cockroaches, Florida and Texas are tops. Of the top 30 cities for share of homes with signs of cockroaches, 23 were in our two most infested states. The warm subtropical climate is the most likely reason for the increased bug presence. If you live in Florida or Texas -- or New York City and Newark (where Joe’s Apartment was filmed) -- you’re likely sharing your home with six-legged uninvited guests.


Our full ranking and analysis can be found here: https://www.lawnstarter.com/blog/studies/dirtiest-cities-in-united-states/

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