Special Report

America’s Dirtiest Cities in 2022

City life has its advantages, from more choices in dining and entertainment to more job opportunities, better public transportation, and more low-cost or free shared public experiences. But urban living also has its disadvantages – not just a higher cost of living, but also such problems as crumbling infrastructure, pest infestation, trash-ridden streets, and air and water pollution. (These are the most miserable cities in America according to residents.) 

To identify America’s dirtiest cities, 24/7 Tempo reviewed a ranking created by LawnStarter, a lawn care start-up that conducts research into city and state amenities on a regular basis. The site ranked cities across four key categories: pollution, living conditions, infrastructure, and consumer (i.e., resident) satisfaction. (These are the best cities in the US to live.)  

The study uncovered some surprising results. Six cities tied for having the worst air quality – all of them in Arizona, hardly the most industrial state in the nation. The worst city for greenhouse-gas emissions was mile-high Denver.

Perhaps less surprising is the fact that Newark, New Jersey, had the highest share of residents dissatisfied with garbage disposal, with Jersey City, Detroit, and New York City following close behind. However, the second highest share belonged to Newport News, Virginia – while nearby Norfolk had the lowest share. (Neither Virginia city, in any case, scored low enough overall to be included in this list.)

Click here to see America’s dirtiest cities in 2022
Click here to read our detailed methodology

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