Well, there is some good news here...at least we're not number one! New York has landed on the top 15 list of the filthiest states in America. According to MoneyWise New York is filthy. If you've ever lived in or visited New York City, this trashy distinction is no surprise. But NYC alone couldn't put us so high on the list, right? The list is more about pollution than the trash that you see in black bags piled on every corner in NYC on garbage collection day. But since NYC has such a huge population, it does cause the entire state to rank higher than if NYC wasn't included.

Researchers claim the state capital suffers from 1,400 premature deaths every year and loses billions of dollars in health costs, specifically due to vehicle pollution.



New York State is the 13th filthiest state in America


The state that topped the list and is considered the filthiest is our neighbor, New Jersey. As they say, 'birds of a feather flock together.' MoneyWise says this about the number one ranked filthiest state - New Jersey,

The Garbage State aptly ranks the filthiest in the U.S., mainly because over 0.04% of its land is occupied by landfills and the air pollution level is relatively high as well. The state has the highest number of Superfund sites — the most contaminated areas in the U.S. that require cleanup, according to the EPA — including a former illegal dumping ground, a septic landfill, an air force base and some industrial facilities.

Photo by Maxim Tolchinskiy on Unsplash
Photo by Maxim Tolchinskiy on Unsplash

Three New York Cities Named Among The Dirtiest In America

When it comes to the dirtiest cities within the state, there are three that landed on the list. LawnStarter released its 2022 list of the dirtiest cities in America and three from our state made the list. It started out with 200 of the biggest cities in the United States as its initial sample but removed 113. It then used four categories - pollution, living conditions, infrastructure, and consumer satisfaction, to rank 90 cities in the United States. Among those four categories, there were 23 metrics, such as Share of Overcrowded Homes, Median Air Quality Index, and Share of Homes with No Plumbing Facilities used.

LawnStarter used data from such places as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to come to its conclusion.

Thankfully, none of the New York State cities were number one. The honor of being the dirtiest city in America, according to LawnStarter went to our neighbors in Newark, New Jersey.

Buffalo, New York

Google Maps
Google Maps

Even though Buffalo made it onto LawnStarters list, it was pretty low, meaning it's one of the cleaner dirtiest cities. The second biggest city in New York State, Buffalo landed in spot number 69.

Overall score - 26.38
Pollution rank - 49
Living conditions rank - 69
Infrastructure rank - 78
Consumer satisfaction rank - 71

Living in Buffalo, I can say that the snow, which we get tons of, contributes to the city's dirtiness. When snow mountains pile up, trash and debris get caught up in it and accumulate until it gets warmer.

Rochester, New York

Google Maps
Google Maps

It is slightly smaller than Buffalo, but a bit dirtier, according to LawnStarter's study. Rochester came in at number 61. Rochester ranked number 5 when it comes to the number of homes with signs of rats or mice in the last 12 months. It was also number 1 for cities with homes that had mold in the last year. But of the cities on the list, Rochester ranked well for air quality, ranking at 82 (tied with Norfolk, Virginia).

Overall score - 30.61
Pollution rank - 81
Living conditions rank - 28
Infrastructure rank - 85
Consumer satisfaction rank - 16

New York, New York

Spanish Artist Jaume Plensa's "Water's Soul" Sculpture Sits At Bank Of Hudson River Facing Manhattan
Getty Images

I doubt anyone is surprised that New York City landed on the list. Having lived in NYC, I'm actually surprised it didn't land in a higher spot. But I am glad to see that conditions are improving. New York City was in the number 14 spot on the 2022 list of Dirtiest Cities in America. NYC ranked 5th of cities with the highest share of residents unhappy with waste removal. That is a given since trash frequently sits on the city's streets. I am a bit shocked NYC wasn't number for rats and mice. If you have ever ridden the subway, you've probably seen a few of them.

Overall score - 42.19
Pollution rank - 54
Living conditions rank - 1
Infrastructure rank - 49
Consumer satisfaction rank - 6

You can see the full list of cities here.

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