These Cities Have the Worst Rat Problems in the United States

Does your city make the list?


Life in the big city isn't for everyone. There's the hustle and bustle, the high cost of living, and, of course, the rats. Typically, the rats keep to themselves, but that's not always the case. In some cities, rodents are more of a problem. Luckily we have a new study that breaks down cities across the country by most and least rat-infested.

Orkin, a pest control company, put the list together. Through its research, the critter-ridder found that in many cities, rats and mice were more visible than ever. But rat-sightings don't necessarily mean you're living in one of the more rat-filled cities in America. 

Orkin created its rankings using internal data. It ranked cities based on the number of new rodent treatments performed from September 2020 to September 2021.

These are the top 25 most rat-infested cities, according to Orkin:

  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Los Angeles, California
  • New York, New York
  • Washington, D.C.
  • San Francisco, California
  • Baltimore, Maryland
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Detroit, Michigan
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Cleveland, Ohio
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Indianapolis, Indiana 
  • Atlanta, Georgie
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • San Diego, California
  • Houston, Texas
  • Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Hartford, Connecticut
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Miami, Florida
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Kansas City, Kansas 

Some of these cities probably aren't surprising. If you've lived in New York for more than five minutes, you've probably seen your share of rats. Likewise, with Los Angeles and Chicago. Some, however, are a bit of a shock, like Houston, Denver, and Kansas City.

Chicago has held the No. 1 spot for seven years in a row. Cleveland, on the other hand, landed in the top 10 for the first time. Similarly, Baltimore has been steadily moving up in the rankings, inching two spots closer to the top five. 

Orkin credits the pandemic, yet again, with the increased visibility of rodents in cities everywhere. Restaurants closing forced rats and mice to search elsewhere for food sources. Additionally, although many fled cities when the pandemic first started, their return brought with it swaths of hungry rodents ready to feast on whatever they could.

With winter on its way, rodents aren't going anywhere. Well, anywhere but inside your house to keep warm and eat whatever crumbs you drop.

Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat.

Caitlyn Hitt is Daria IRL. Don't take our word for it—find her on Twitter @nyltiaccc.