This City Has the Worst Rat Problem in the U.S.
Study shows rats have caused the most problems in these major U.S. cities.
Living in a city certainly comes with plenty of advantages such as convenience, a wide variety of entertainment and activity options, and an opportunity to live and learn amongst cultures other than your own. However, not everything about urban living is fun and games. There are high rents, small living spaces, cockroaches, and, of course, rats (though that's not to say suburban living isn't without its rodent problems). Whether it be on the street, subway platform, or your building's trash collecting area, no matter how much you'd like to avoid it, you are going to see the scurrying rodents more times than you'd likely care to. But which U.S. city has the worst rat problem in the country?
To find out, we looked to the 2021 version of pest control company Orkin's annual rattiest cities list. To determine which city had the worst rat problem in the U.S., Orkin ranked metro regions based upon the number of new rodent treatments—both residential and commercial included—performed by the company from Sept. 15, 2020 to Sept. 15, 2021. Read on to discover which city has the worst rat problem in the U.S.
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Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City's rat problem certainly didn't improve over the last year. In fact, the city jumped up five spots from No. 30 in 2020 to No. 25 in 2021.
Portland managed to improve its rodent problem slightly in 2021, moving one spot from No. 23 on Orkin's 2020 ranking of the rattiest cities in the U.S. to No. 24 in 2021.
In April of this year, local NBC News affiliate KGW8 reported that residents of a neighborhood in the Northeast section of Portland were having trouble getting the city to remove a sprawling trash pile, despite numerous complaints from local residents and business owners that the pile was infested with rats that were making their way into people's yards and homes.
In 2020, Miami was found to have the 20th worst rat problem of any city in the U.S. In 2021, the Sunshine State metropolis was a little less rat-friendly, ranking No. 23.
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Milwaukee's rat problem only got worse in the last year. The Midwestern city went from having the 24th worst rat problem in the U.S. in 2020 to the 20th in 2021.
Residents of the Milwaukee neighborhood of Westlawn Gardens said they have been dealing with a rat problem over the last year that has been so disruptive to the community that they resorted to confronting city leaders on Sept. 27, demanding something be done, a local Fox affiliate reported.
In 2020, Hartford didn't crack the top 25 on Orkin's list of rattiest cities, landing at No. 27 out of 50. However, the city's rat problem was enough to push it up six spots to No. 21 on the list in 2021.
Dallas is one of two Texas cities on this list. In 2020, Dallas had the 16th worst rat problem in the U.S., but in 2021, Orkin found the city's pest problem to be the 20th worst in the country.
Ohio is another state with two cities on this list. In addition to ranking No. 19 this year, Cincinnati found itself in the top 25 in 2020, as well, falling in position No. 22.
Like its fellow Texan city Dallas, Houston also improved its rat problem in the last year, albeit only by one position. In 2020, Houston had the 17th worst rat problem, according to Orkin, and in 2021 the city was ranked No. 18.
San Diego, California
With three cities in the top 25, California has more rodent-infested locales on this list than any other state in the country. San Diego jumped up two spots from 2020's rankings and was found to have the 17th worst rat problem in the U.S.
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Pittsburgh may not have as bad a rat problem as another Pennsylvania city on this list, but the way things are going, it doesn't look good. Last year, Pittsburgh ranked No. 18, but in 2021 Orkin found the city to have the 16th worst rat problem in the U.S.
After ranking No. 14 in 2020, Atlanta stayed in almost the exact same spot in 2021, ranking No. 15 in Orkin's list of the top 50 cities with the worst rat problems.
Indianapolis switched spots with Atlanta from 2020 to 2021. Indianapolis was No. 15 in 2020 and No. 14 in 2021.
Boston is the first city on this year's list that ranked in the same exact spot as it did in 2020. Beantown's rat problem apparently didn't didn't get better or worse in the last year.
The rat problem in Boston isn't limited to the city itself. In Watertown, a neighborhood considered to be part of the Greater Boston area, rats are becoming such a growing concern that city health officials recently issued a statement asking residents to not leave pumpkins outside overnight in order to avoid attracting more unwanted rodents, a local NBC affiliate reported on Oct. 7.
Minneapolis improved its rat problem by two positions, according to the latest Orkin data. The Midwestern city fell from No. 10 in 2020 to No. 12 in 2021
The way things are going, Seattle may find itself with one of the top 10 worst rat problems in the U.S. next year. In 2020, the West Coast city ranked No. 12, and inched closer by landing at No. 11 in 2021.
While Cleveland—the second Ohio city on this list—ranked No. 11 in 2020, enough new rodent treatments were performed in 2021 to push the Midwestern city into the top 10.
According to Orkin, Denver had the ninth most residential and commercial rodent treatments performed in 2021 of any major city in the country.
Detroit is once again among the top 10 rattiest cities in the country. However things at least haven't gotten worse. The city ranked two spots higher (No. 6) in the 2020 ranking.
For the second year in a row, Philadelphia was found to have the seventh worst rat problem of any city in the country.
In one North Philadelphia neighborhood, the rat problem is so bad, that residents are literally afraid to cross the street.
"When I walked across the street to go to the store I said I couldn't believe it," area resident Yolanda Murray told a local CBS news affiliate on Oct. 11. "I tried to videotape and get closer but there were too many and I didn't want them to jump on me."
According to the latest data from Orkin, Baltimore had the sixth most residential and commercial rodent treatments performed in 2021 of any city in the country.
San Francisco, California
As the second of three Golden State cities on this list, San Francisco was once again found to be the fifth rattiest city in the country—a position it has held for at least the last two years.
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Like San Francisco, Washington D.C. remained at the same position (No. 4) in 2021 as it did in 2020 and 2019.
New York, New York
The Big Apple, which is somewhat famous for its rats, particularly the ones found in the city's subway system, held its position at No. 3 in 2021, the same ranking it had in 2020 and 2019.
Things have gotten so bad at one New York City housing development that one resident said she can't sleep at night. Kanielle Hernandez recently told news station PIX11 that so many rats have swarmed her building's trash area that the sound of them crawling around the garbage at night prevents her from falling asleep.
"I literally hear people screaming all the time, even grown men," Hernandez said, describing how people react when they see how many rats have gathered.
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles is the third and final California city on this list. And just like it did in 2019 and 2020, L.A. ranked No. 2 on Orkin's 2021 ranking of the rattiest cities in the U.S.
For the seventh year in a row, the Windy City was determined to have the worst rat problem of any city in the U.S. The Midwestern metropolis had the most residential and commercial rodent treatments performed in 2021, according to Orkin.
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