This article compiles the top 25 most polluted cities in the US based on data analysis from the American Housing Survey (AHS) of the Census Bureau, which identifies areas with the highest levels of trash reported by locals.
The Cost of Convenience
The most polluted cities in the US are provided with data. The rise of industrialization and the widespread availability of various convenient products have undoubtedly elevated contemporary living conditions. Nevertheless, this progress has also brought about unintended consequences, with everyday conveniences like plastic bags leading to a major environmental challenge: waste and pollution.
Plastic bags, made from artificial materials, pose a significant passive danger as they do not decompose like organic products. Instead, they undergo photodegradation, breaking down into smaller pieces over a period that can extend up to two decades. As a result of this breakdown, microplastics are generated, posing a threat to animals that consume them.
For our list of the dirtiest cities in the U.S., we relied on data from the Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey (AHS) to rank cities and metropolitan areas based on the percentage of households reporting no trash, junk, or litter near their residence. The lower the percentage score, the higher the city’s pollution level.
Read also: Top 10 Least Desirable States To Live In And Work In The USA For 2023
Most Polluted Cities in the US
25. Dallas, Texas, has a reported no trash percentage of 91% among households. This ranking places Dallas among the top ten most populous cities in the United States and highlights its status as one of the dirtiest cities in Texas.
24. The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area holds a 90% household no-trash rate and accommodates over three million residents across three cities. Among these, Tampa stands out as one of Florida’s most polluted cities.
23. With a 90% household no-trash rate, Phoenix, Arizona, proudly serves as the state’s capital and the most populous city, accommodating a population of over one million within its borders.
22. With a household no-trash rate of 90%, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, stands as the capital of the state and hosts two Fortune 500 companies.
21. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, exhibits an 89% household no-trash rate and is renowned as one of America’s most iconic cities, boasting a dynamic industry comprising food, steel, and various other sectors.
20. San Antonio, Texas, holds a noteworthy 89% household no-trash rate, making it one of the most significant cities in the United States with a population of 1.4 million inhabitants.
19. With an impressive 89% household no-trash rate, Houston, Texas, takes pride in its status as the most populous city in the state, housing over two million residents.
18. San José, California, reports an 88% household no-trash rate and stands as a prominent technological hub in America, hosting a diverse array of technology companies.
17. Tucson, Arizona, records an 88% household no-trash rate and holds the distinction of being the state’s second-largest city, renowned for being home to the University of Arizona.
16. Rochester, New York, boasts an 88% household no-trash rate and is a thriving and well-developed city with a vibrant startup sector.
15. With an 88% household no-trash rate, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is home to a population of over half a million residents and serves as the headquarters for several Fortune 500 companies.
14. Birmingham, Alabama, reports an 88% household no-trash rate and stands as the base for numerous prominent companies, including AT&T, Grapco, and other firms.
13. With 88% of households not having trash, the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario metropolitan statistical area is one of the largest areas in the United States.
12. With an 87% household no-trash rate, Chicago, Illinois, stands as the third most populous city in the United States, accommodating a population of close to three million residents.
11. Las Vegas, Nevada, reports an 87% household no-trash rate, positioning it as the most populous city in the state and a prominent economic hub.
10. New Orleans, Louisiana, records an 87% household no-trash rate and stands as a vibrant cultural hub in America, as well as a prominent major port city. Without a doubt, New Orleans, one of the most unique cities in the New World, was founded amidst significant challenges and conflicts.
9. With an 86% household no-trash rate, Memphis, Tennessee, stands as the state’s second largest city and holds a prominent position in the aerospace industry.
8. With an 86% household no-trash rate, Baltimore, Maryland, stands as the most populous city in the state, attracting millions of tourists each year.
7. Portland, Oregon, reports an 86% household no-trash rate and stands as the location of one of America’s largest dry docks, accommodating a population of over half a million residents.
6. Seattle, Washington, records an 86% household no-trash rate and serves as a prominent technology hub, being one of the largest cities in the state.
5. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s largest city, was the US capital before Washington, D.C., and has an 85% household no-trash rate. Philadelphia, home to Comcast and other major companies, is one of America’s most populous cities. Two million of 2.4 million households had no trash, junk, or litter within half a block, according to the Census Bureau.
4. New York City, one of the world’s largest cities, is a cultural icon with an 83% household no-trash rate. America’s largest city has 8.8 million residents. New York City houses some of the world’s largest banks and financial firms.
3. San Francisco, California, is a famous technology hub with an 81% household no-trash rate. After the murder of a billionaire, which police later revealed was an acquaintance, the city’s safety issues received national attention.
2. The second most populous US city, Los Angeles, has nearly four million residents and an 81% household no-trash rate. Hollywood, the world’s largest film industry, is in America’s cultural center.
1. Miami, Florida, is the dirtiest city in America, with 46% of households reporting no trash or litter within half a block, compared to 81% in Los Angeles. Miami, Florida’s second-largest city, has shocking trash statistics.
Given all of the information. These are all the most polluted cities in the US according to the study.