The United States is facing a multitude of challenges, increased immigration, worsening poverty, rampant drug use, and escalating pollution are stretching city resources thin. These urgent matters culminate in a serious public health crisis, manifesting most visibly in the deteriorating state of cleanliness and safety in many urban areas. Let’s go over 15 cities where the crisis is most concerning.


To rank these dirty United States cities, LawnStarter collected data on a variety of factors and categorized them into Living Conditions, Pollution, Infrastructure, and Consumer Satisfaction, creating a comprehensive profile for 150 of the biggest U.S. cities.

Source: Unsplash/Jason Goodman

Living conditions: evaluated through a composite score, encompassing factors like population density, rates of overcrowded housing, and the absence of basic amenities such as kitchens and plumbing. Pollution: determined by the median air quality index, water quality violations, and greenhouse gas emissions per capita.

Infrastructure: considers waste management and environmental sustainability. Consumer Satisfaction: reflects residents’ contentment with their surroundings.

Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles, contending with pollution and dissatisfaction, has found itself amidst the cleanliness crisis and currently it is ranked as the 15th most dirty state in the United States.  

Source: Unsplash/Jiroe Matia Rengel

Overall Rank: 15/150 (1 = Dirtiest)

Overall Score: 45.59

Pollution Rank: 30

Living Conditions Rank: 29

Infrastructure Rank: 55

Consumer Satisfaction Rank: 12

Ontario, California

Ontario, another city in the sunny Golden State is ranked 14th for its poor cleanliness.

Source: Irfan Khan

Overall Rank: 14/150 (1 = Dirtiest)

Overall Score: 45.62

Pollution Rank: 8

Living Conditions Rank: 63

Infrastructure Rank: 79

Consumer Satisfaction Rank: 10

Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, AL, confronts notable cleanliness issues, moreover with the pollution. This city is ranked as the 13th dirtiest cities in the United States. 

Source: Deny Howeth

Overall Rank: 13/150 (1 = Dirtiest)

Overall Score: 45.74

Pollution Rank: 94

Living Conditions Rank: 3

Infrastructure Rank: 20

Consumer Satisfaction Rank: 19

Manhattan, New York

Manhattan deals with continual issues with attempts to clean up the city, it comes in at the 12th  dirtiest city in America.

Source: Shutterstock

Overall Rank: 12/150 (1 = Dirtiest)

Overall Score: 46.19

Pollution Rank: 102

Living Conditions Rank: 1

Infrastructure Rank: 62

Consumer Satisfaction Rank: 13

Shreveport, Louisiana

Shreveport has its struggles with keeping its city clean, earning its place on this list as the 11th most dirty city in the U.S.

Source: Unsplash/Library of Congress

Overall Rank: 11/150 (1 = Dirtiest)

Overall Score: 46.34

Pollution Rank: 26

Living Conditions Rank: 86

Infrastructure Rank: 46

Consumer Satisfaction Rank: 23

Yonkers, New York

Yonkers claims the 10th position on the list of dirty cities in the U.S. 

Source: Reddit

Overall Rank: 10/150 (1 = Dirtiest)

Overall Score: 46.36

Pollution Rank: 46

Living Conditions Rank: 8

Infrastructure Rank: 128

Consumer Satisfaction Rank: 14

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City is faced with serious sanitary issues, making it the 9th dirtiest city in the United States.


Overall Rank: 9/150 (1 = Dirtiest)

Overall Score: 46.51

Pollution Rank: 5

Living Conditions Rank: 25

Infrastructure Rank: 8

Consumer Satisfaction Rank: 96

Fresno, California

Believe it or not Fresno is actually dirtier than Los Angeles and Ontario, it ranks as the 8th dirtiest city in America. 

Source: John Walker

Overall Rank: 8/150 (1 = Dirtiest)

Overall Score: 47.27

Pollution Rank: 31

Living Conditions Rank: 81

Infrastructure Rank: 121

Consumer Satisfaction Rank: 5

San Antonio, Texas

Those that live in San Antonio face notable concerns with the cleanliness of their city, it comes in as the 7th dirtiest city in the U.S.  

Source: Unsplash/Matthew LeJune

Overall Rank: 7/150 (1 = Dirtiest)

Overall Score: 47.43

Pollution Rank: 34

Living Conditions Rank: 12

Infrastructure Rank: 29

Consumer Satisfaction Rank: 36

Bakersfield, California

Bakersfield grapples with serious challenges of the filthy conditions of the city, it was found to be the 6th dirtiest city in America. 

Source: X/PtFry

Overall Rank: 6/150 (1 = Dirtiest)

Overall Score: 47.95

Pollution Rank: 27

Living Conditions Rank: 69

Infrastructure Rank: 122

Consumer Satisfaction Rank: 7

Jersey City, New Jersey

Jersey City is positioned as the fifth unkempt city in the United States, the city deals with serious issues regarding living conditions and overall cleanliness.

Source: Quora

Overall Rank: 5/150 (1 = Dirtiest)

Overall Score: 48.11

Pollution Rank: 50

Living Conditions Rank: 2

Infrastructure Rank: 110

Consumer Satisfaction Rank: 15

Detroit, Michigan

Detroit contends with notable cleanliness challenges, earning the fourth position on the list of dirtiest cities in America. 

Source: Shutterstock

Overall Rank: 4/150 (1 = Dirtiest)

Overall Score: 48.3

Pollution Rank: 9

Living Conditions Rank: 35

Infrastructure Rank: 89

Consumer Satisfaction Rank: 4

San Bernardino, California

San Bernardino, deals with significant pollution issues and is overall the third dirtiest city in America.

Source: Santiago Mejia

Overall Rank: 3/150 (1 = Dirtiest)

Overall Score: 51.58

Pollution Rank: 1

Living Conditions Rank: 56

Infrastructure Rank: 131

Consumer Satisfaction Rank: 1

Newark, New Jersey

Newark joins its neighboring Jersey City and comes in as the second dirtiest city in the entire United States.

Source: New York Office of the Attorney General

Overall Rank: 2/150 (1 = Dirtiest)

Overall Score: 55.25

Pollution Rank: 14

Living Conditions Rank: 5

Infrastructure Rank: 97

Consumer Satisfaction Rank: 3

Houston, Texas

Houston comes in first place for the dirtiest city in the United States, dealing with the controversial Colony Ridge development north of Houston as a hub for illegal immigrants and serious problems.

Source: Reddit

Overall Rank: 1st dirtiest

Overall Score: 56.02

Pollution Rank: 3

Living Conditions Rank: 4

Infrastructure Rank: 12

Consumer Satisfaction Rank: 34