Chicago beats out competitors: not on list of America’s 10 Dirtiest Cities

I heard a joke years back: Chicago may be corrupt but at least it’s clean while Philadelphia is both corrupt and dirty. On a new list of America’s dirtiest cities, Chicago isn’t in the top 10:

While such sentiments don’t appear in tourist brochures, that glorious grit has landed Baltimore in the Top 10 dirtiest cities, as chosen by Travel + Leisure readers in the annual America’s Favorite Cities survey. Of course, visitors gauge “dirty” in a variety of ways: litter, air pollution, even the taste of local tap water.

This year’s American State Litter Scorecard, published by advocacy group the American Society for Public Administration, put both Nevada and Louisiana in the bottom five—echoing the assessment of T+L readers who ranked Las Vegas and New Orleans among America’s dirtiest cities.

The top 10 dirtiest cities according to Travel + Leisure readers, starting with the dirtiest: New Orleans, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Memphis, New York City, Baltimore, Las Vegas, Miami, Atlanta, and Houston.

The top 10 dirtiest states according to the “2011 American State Litter Scorecard,” starting with the dirtiest: Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Alabama, Indiana, Georgia, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Montana. The best states: Washington, California, Iowa, Maine, and Connecticut. I like the conclusion on the slideshow: “Scorecard not definitive: Contributing inquiry into poorly probed matter.” Somebody should study the issue…

Having been to many of these places, I have always thought that Chicago’s tourist area, including the Loop and River North, was quite clean and attractive, as far as cities go.

0 thoughts on “Chicago beats out competitors: not on list of America’s 10 Dirtiest Cities

  1. Illinois IS rated a bottom-seven “worst” state (tied wth Georgia and Oklahoma) in the 2011 American State Litter Scorecard, for statewide public spaces cleanliness quality and public-private litter/debris abatement efforts.

    Nearby Indiana, last place Kentucky also rated “worst.”
    Iowa’s the only rated “Best” state in the Midwest.

    Illinois scored poorly for Integrity of Thoroughfare Disbursements and for an ultra high rate of Public Servant Corruption Convictions Per Population Proportion.
    IL is one of the deadliest five states for Debris-attributed Motor Vehicle Collisions totals (over 35 persons die across the Land of Lincoln each year in these preventable accidents). Across Illinois each day, every man, woman and child throws aways above national average amounts of Waste Per Person, and the Springfield State Capitol has yet to pass Container Deposits and Comprehensive Recycling Legislation.

    For more details, please see:

    (newest) 2011 American State Litter Scorecard


  2. Illinois is pretty clean actually. The state has practically 13 million people and is clean. And for such a tremendously large metropolitain area, Chicago is quite clean; hence, it didn’t make the “dirty list”. -And New York, stop putting your garbage bags up and down the sidewalks; that’s just not right.


  3. Pingback: Paris bans half of its cars from the streets in attempt to reduce smog | Legally Sociable

    • Outside Los Angeles, California’s public spaces (roads, sidewalks, parks, beaches, waterways) are generally kept clean, due to stringent practice standards most states do not have. A reason why CA continues being a Top (#2) BEST, Cleanest government, in both the 2014 and 2011 American State Litter Scorecard.


  4. Chicago DID become a T+L “America’s Dirtiest City” in 2012.
    In 2014, Illinois was no longer a WORST dirty state, not the largest populated, “dirtiest” government in the ’14 American Litter Scorecard. That honor went to nearby big state Michigan. Next door Indiana is now the Scorecard “dirtiest” and WORST in the Midwest, along with Kentucky. Iowa and Missouri are the BEST, Cleanest in the nation’s midsection.


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