Dirty Old Towns: Top Ten America’s Filthiest Cities

Daily Mail (London), June 14, 2011

Cities like New York, Miami, Las Vegas and Los Angeles may be some of the most popular and exciting cities in the U.S., but they also happen to be the dirtiest.

A list of the filthiest cities in America has been compiled by Travel and Leisure magazine.

Most of the places that made the top ten were some of the most popular in all of the country, perhaps something to do with the number of tourists who frequent there or the street parties and events that attract hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.

New Orleans, for example, which was voted the number one dirtiest city in the U.S., is known for its yearly Mardi Gras, the clean up of which is of epic proportions.

That, added with the fact that the effects of Hurricane Katrina can still be seen in some places, sent this city to the top spot.

The top ten was chosen by Travel and Leisure readers who took things such as litter, air pollution and even the taste of local tap water into consideration.

But that did not mean that they were cities they did not like as some of the top ten also ranked high in favouritie cities list.

Atlanta ad executive Patrick Scullin, for example, loves Baltimore–but not because it is particularly pristine.

He told the magazine: ‘Yes, there’s litter, smokers, and graffiti. But that’s just life going on. The air sometimes offends, but a cool breeze off the harbour can ease all worries. It’s a gem of a city.’

Las Vegas and Miami, which took the number seven and eight spots respectively, were ranked high on things like having a great bar scene, live music or great for people watching as well as being thought of as dirty.

Los Angeles, which is famous for its smog and traffic-clogged streets, took the number three spot for the third year in a row.

New York has cleaned up its act a bit. Last year it took the number one spot but has moved down to number five. But it took the top spot on the list of most expensive U.S. cities.

TOP 10 DIRTIEST U.S. CITIES

1. New Orleans

2. Philadelphia

3. Los Angeles

4. Memphis

5. New York

6. Baltimore

7. Las vegas

8. Miami

9. Atlanta

10. Houston

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  • Bandmo

    The only thing “PC” that I can see in the mentioned cities as that ALL of them have “vowels” in the spelling of their names. Saying the obvious would be “racist”.

  • Irish in Paris

    I’m a bit puzzled that Los Angeles should appear on the list as we had a very good impression of the city when we visited friends there – very clean and pleasant. And we moved around extensively – Santa Monica, Bel Air and a very nice hilly area I forget the name of. How come LA is on this list, I just don’t understand.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe these numbers have something to do with it?

    1. New Orleans 60.2% black, 5,3% hispanic

    2. Philadelphia 42.5% black, 11.4% hispanic

    3. Los Angeles 9.6% black, 48.5% hispanic

    4. Memphis 62.6% black, 29.5% hispanic

    5. New York 27% black, 27% hispanic

    6. Baltimore 65.2% black 3% hispanic

    7. Las Vegas 11.1 % black, 31.5% hispanic

    8. Miami 19.2% black, 72.6% hispanic

    9. Atlanta 54% black, 35.3% hispanic

    10. Houston 28.7% black, 25.6% hispnic

    Where ever you find a Mexican you find Mexico = dirt diapers, public defecation.

    Blacks are just lazy. Walk by a market in a black hood and there will be 100s of plastic shopping bags on the ground right outside the store. As soon as they pull the item out of the bag, they drop the bag. They have a odd mentality that whitey will clean up after them.

  • Gen. Lee

    Atlanta ad executive Patrick Scullin, for example, loves Baltimore: ‘Yes, there’s litter, smokers, and graffiti. But that’s just life going on. The air sometimes offends, but a cool breeze off the harbour can ease all worries. It’s a gem of a city.’

    What kind of a drug is this guy on? BaltiMORGUE is an absolute dump. There’s literally a 4 block by 4 block radius (near Inner Harbor) that you can walk through and maybe not get mugged. Immediately surrounding the “touristy” Inner Harbor is Black ghetto after Black ghetto after Black ghetto. North, South, East, West. I don’t care which direction you travel…you are bound to find crime and decay.

  • TTownTony

    New Orleans was nasty long, long before Katrina. Even if it is not Mardi Gras season, there will be tons of litter, occasional pools of vomit, and the ever present stench of mildewed urine. Plus the locals spit everywhere. Where I grew up it was illegal to spit on the ground in public.

    The cleanest city I have even been to is Hong Kong. Everywhere there are signs warning the public that it is a $2000HK fine for spitting or urinating in public. That’s equivalent to about $250US. You cannot even spit in the trash cans.

  • Anonymous

    Why isn’t Detroit on that list? It is a giant dump now. I know from experience.

  • Anonymous

    My father recently took my mother to Walgreens to have a prescription filled. He waited outside listening to the radio. While my mother was inside a black woman walked in front of his car drinking a soda and just tossed the empty cup on the ground. Then she looked around and realized my dad had seen her. So she walked back, picked it up and looking right at him threw it down again. My dad was just sitting there. He hadn’t said anything or changed his expression. What can you say to something like that? Do you want to know why Memphis is filthy? There ya go. I’m just surprised three cities beat Memphis. I demand a recount!

  • Anonymous

    @Irish in Paris: You named the wealthiest area in L.A. (Bel Air) and Santa Monica, a separate city from L.A. I suspect you were also going for Beverly Hills (another separate city) or possibly Holmby Hills or the Hollywood Hills. In any case, neighborhoods with hills in L.A. are considerably better off than the flat neighborhoods, which are most of the city. The evaluation was based on the city overall, not the best neighborhoods.

    Most of L.A. has polluted air, high crime, dirty streets (not much rain), and even decrepit graffiti-covered RIVERS. The tap water is brought hundreds of miles down an aqueduct. Any index that includes air pollution is going to give L.A. a bad rating.

    Glad you were able to confine yourself to the upscale Westside. For a taste of how most Angelenos live, visit the south side (going from black to Hispanic with just short of ethnic cleansing), the east side (completely unassimilated Hispanic — you can go miles in any direction and think you’re in Mexico), or even some of the seedier parts of the San Fernando Valley.

  • White, Jewish, and Proud

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Philadelphia has become a filthy, crime-ridden dung heap.

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous,

    where did you get those numbers from? Especially the Hispanic percentage in Memphis?

  • SKIP

    “2 — Irish in Paris wrote at 6:35 PM on June 15: ”

    I notice that you didn’t mention Compton, Watts, Bell Gardens, East LA, Bellflower, Norwalk, Newport Beach! And never mind the list, just be pleased that you got out of muslim and black friendly LA!

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    And we moved around extensively – Santa Monica, Bel Air and a very nice hilly area I forget the name of.

    That “very nice hilly area” was probably Palos Verdes– a very exclusive, very wealthy White/Asian enclave.

    You were in the Whitest, cleanest, safest and nicest parts of LA.

    If you had visited South Central, parts of East LA, the Griffith Park picnic or beach areas late on a Sunday afternoon, you would have seen plenty of trash! More than you could imagine — graffiti too of the most vile sort.

    But, if you do choose to visit those areas to check out LA’s “filth in the hood”, lock your car doors, make sure your gas tank is full and your cell phone charged; don’t stop and only travel during daylight hours. And don’t get out to take pictures! They may be the last ones you ever take…

    And don’t even think of walking barefoot on a Southern California beach! You’re more likely than not to step on either a dirty diaper or broken Corona bottle.

    Bon

  • Anonymous

    2 — Irish in Paris wrote at 6:35 PM on June 15:

    “I’m a bit puzzled that Los Angeles should appear on the list as we had a very good impression of the city when we visited friends there – very clean and pleasant. And we moved around extensively – Santa Monica, Bel Air and a very nice hilly area I forget the name of. How come LA is on this list, I just don’t understand.”

    I’m just guessing here, but I’ll bet that Paris could head this list, if we pretended it were in the U.S. Hence, your good impression.

  • voter

    A very selective list. These are only large metropolitan cities, I notice. Where are the smaller cities (that are surely worse)?

    Where is Camden, NJ? East St.Louis, Ill.? Richmond, Calif.? Benton Harbor, Mich.?

    Oh, and where is Detroit? Not even on the list!

  • Anonymous

    2 — Irish in Paris at 6:35 PM on June 15:

    Are you kidding? Did you even go downtown or get off any of the exits in Los Angeles or did you just stay in the nicer parts of Bel Air and Santa Monica which aren’t even part of Los Angeles. The only way I could describe it is it looked like the border towns in Mexico I’ve visited while vacationing in Arizona.

  • SoCal LoCal

    Irish, you seem to have been on the upscale west side of the city, or in the case of Santa Monica, a separate city. To see the underside of Los Angeles you must go inland. The south-central region is da’ Hood (race ipsa loquitur), and to the east is el Barrio (a bit of ole Mexico).

  • Anonymous

    Apparently diversity has downsides as well as reported benefits. Using a trash can is not be a cultural attribute for some groups. Curious as these groups often have the highest unemployment and crime rates. Could it be personal irresponsibility is the issue for these common conditions and not economic repression?

  • Cliff Yablonski

    I grew up in Los Angeles in the 50’s, it was a model of what a big city should be, clean and safe, with a wholesome atmosphere everywhere you went. The reason is LA back then was almost 100% white.

  • jdavis

    Living in Corpus Christi, TX is a challenge, I will never grow accustomed to the trash. Corpus is the second trashest place I have lived, the first being McAllen, in the Rio Grande Valley.

    I wonder what the constant is in this scenario?

  • anonymous

    Dear Irish,

    I’m glad you had such a wonderful time in LA. But those of us who live here see other parts of it, parts the tourists do not see. The area I live in was once a nice, middle-class community but is now strewn with rubbish, graffiti, abandoned shopping carts, rusty old cars on lawns, etc. because of the illegal aliens who have flooded in.

  • John Engelman

    Those who are closer in number of generations to a paleolithic way of life are more likely to litter. Stone age hunters were always on the move, so they did not need to clean up after themselves.

  • Anonymous

    To Anon # 10

    Sorry I mixed up my Memphis numbers. Memphis is only 5% hispanic.

  • Marc B

    “I’m just surprised three cities beat Memphis. I demand a recount!”

    From cleanest city awards in the late 1970’s to #3 dirtiest city awards in 2011. I wonder what trend demographic trend occurred over that same period…

    Coincidentally, bordering Memphis is Olive Branch, MS, currently the fastest growing city in the US!

  • Anonymous

    10 — White, Jewish, and Proud wrote at 11:07 PM on June 15:

    “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Philadelphia has become a filthy, crime-ridden dung heap.”

    Yes. And you may apply that to any city that has a sizeable Mau Mau population. Center City is nice but don’t go 20 blocks North, South or West. Go East and you’ve got a beautiful view of Camden which actually WAS a nice town many moons ago.

  • Anonymous

    “7 — Anonymous wrote at 9:06 PM on June 15:

    Why isn’t Detroit on that list? It is a giant dump now. I know from experience.”

    I live outside the D. Lived in the D for 30 yrs before being displaced like a war refugee.

    Much of Detroit is vacant lots. Granted there is trash and heaping empty buildings filled with asbestos insulation and lead paint. Not sure why the D was not on the list. Maybe they were looking at all the beautiful vacant lots which now have prairie grass and young forests growing on them.

  • Anonymous

    Bon wrote “If you had visited South Central, parts of East LA, the Griffith Park picnic or beach areas late on a Sunday afternoon, you would have seen plenty of trash! More than you could imagine — graffiti too of the most vile sort.”

    I remember driving by a West LA park late on a summer Sunday afternoon. I forget the park, I think it was the one near the 405 and Palms blvd in the heart of affluent White West Los Angeles. The trash cans and dumpsters overflowed. The ground was actually covered with trash. The reason was all the hispanics living 15 people to a 2 bedroom apartment had gone to the park to spend Sunday.

    The apartments and houses were never meant to house 20 people in a 1,500 sq ft house. The parks were never designed to accommodate such a huge population.

    Then there was the time I went swimming on a saturday afternoon in the Culver city park. On my way out I saw 2 pairs of legs sticking out from a dumpster. It was 2 mexicans “making love”

    Irish in Paris probably never went east of Robinson blvd.

    Sunset Blvd goes from lovely to horrible in just a few blocks when it gets to that mexican neighborhood near downtown.

  • WR the elder

    There are a lot of “Undocumented Democrats” living in my neighborhood and as a direct result I am constantly having to pick up the trash that magically appears in my yard. When some of if is Spanish language pornography I get a pretty good idea of who is dropping it.