2021’s Dirtiest Cities In America – Did Your City Make The List?

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Nothing gets the competitive juices flowing in the United States like a good old fashioned dirtiest city ranking list where we learn which cities are just downright disgusting and which cities seem to have their act together in several key departments.

Lawnstarter.com, a company that wants to cut your grass, used a variety of metrics — from the basic air quality, to water quality, to share of homes with signs of cockroaches over the last 12 months — to determine the dirtiest cities in this great nation.

The results were telling. Eight of the top 20 dirtiest cities are in California, while the legendary rust belt wasteland of Dayton, OH was three spots away from being the Cleanest City In America. Have the people from LawnStarter ever been to Dayton?

Congratulations go out to Winston-Salem, North Carolina for being the cleanest city in the United States. The city, which has seen its population explode by 62,000 or so residents since 2000, now has the challenge of maintaining its ranking as more people move to the exploding metropolitan area.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the bigger the city, the dirtier it is. Los Angeles and its smog issue helped propel the city to within one spot of the elite Dirtiest City in America spot that went to Palmdale, California, which is 63 miles north of downtown Los Angeles.

Florida and Texas dominate in the cockroach department. 23 of the top 30 cities for cockroaches are in those two states, which makes sense since cockroaches like it warm. Congratulations to St. Petersburg, Florida for leading the nation in cockroach issues. Detroit made the list of cities with the fewest signs of cockroaches, which comes as a big surprise.

As for air quality, California has a stranglehold on the top five spots. Lubbock, Texas has the best air quality. And Pasadena, Texas deserves a special shoutout for leading the nation in pollution. That’s quite an honor.

For the full list of dirtiest/cleanest cities, go over to Lawnstarter.com.

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

Written by Joe Kinsey

Joe Kinsey is the Senior Director of Content of OutKick and the editor of the Morning Screencaps column that examines a variety of stories taking place in real America.

Kinsey is also the founder of OutKick’s Thursday Night Mowing League, America’s largest virtual mowing league.

Kinsey graduated from University of Toledo.


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  1. It’s like Palo Alto, California and East Palo Alto, California. Stanford University and their elite are on literally one side of the train tracks while on the other side is extremely dirty. I live just over the bridge, a little over 3 miles, from downtown Portland. Thanks to BLM and Antifa, the place is burned down and in ruins

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