10 Most Rat-Infested Cities in America
You will be surprised by the top 2.
The pest control company Orkin recently released its list of the 10 rattiest cities in America. Despite the enduring popularity of Pizza Rat—and the appointment of a "rat czar" in its widely publicized "war on rats"—the #1 spot isn't held by New York City. (It doesn't even come in #2.) Orkin based its report on the number of new rodent treatments over 12 months ending on Aug. 31, 2023, both in homes and businesses. Here are the cities that comprise the top 10.
Last winter, WJW reported that rats were "becoming a nuisance" in and around Cleveland's historic Public Square. "Nests and possible colonies of rats have settled near the historic location with the rodents running wild across sidewalks and streets, even in broad daylight," the station said, quoting one resident as saying,"They're big, they're definitely big."
Detroit came in ninth nationwide in 2023. Local station WXYZ reported last March that residents were finding rodents chewing through their car wiring, rendering them inoperable. In August, the Detroit Free Press reported that a local man was suing Olive Garden after allegedly finding a rat's foot in his soup.
Denver jumped from tenth place in 2022 to #8 in this year's survey.
On Oct. 2, Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott announced a "city services blitz" that would include addressing the city's widely reported rat issues. He said city agencies would conduct 36,000 rat inspections over the next 90 days.
Philly maintained its #6 ranking this year after jumping up from #7 in 2022. A summer 2021 survey by Apartment Guide found that the City of Brotherly Love actually had the worst rodent problem in the country.
San Francisco ranked #5 for the second consecutive year. In January, Fox Weather reported that historic storms had been flushing rats out of their habitats and into homes in the Bay Area.
"Over the past three years, the rat population has exploded. The number of rat reports received by DC Health has increased every fiscal year since 2020," NBC Washington reported last April. Experts blame the 25% increase in restaurants in the city, a decade of mild winters, and a surging population (of humans).
This year, NYC dropped to #3 in the rankings from last year's #2. New York City Mayor Eric Adams has made rat mitigation a priority, this month announcing that nearly all residential building owners will be required to containerize their trash in all five boroughs. All businesses are being required to use hard-lidded trash bins, ending many rat-friendly decades of trash being kept in bags by the street.
This year, Los Angeles overtook New York City to claim the #2 spot. Local station KTLA recently reported that "Merchants along Los Angeles' famed Olvera Street have recently complained that an infestation of rats is threatening their livelihoods." The station aired video showing rodents crawling along streets, sidewalks, and under vendor stands.
The Windy City has topped Orkin's list of rattiest cities for the ninth year in a row. The company said it would release a limited-edition T-shirt commemorating the "honor."