People complain about garbage, and who can blame them? A new study by HouseFresh aimed to find the “dirtiest” cities in the United States by analyzing 12.3 million sanitation-related complaints made to 311 systems across the country. The complaints, made from Oct. 23, 2021 to Oct. 23, 2022, were tallied in cities with populations of more than 250,000, with adequate 311 data that could be mapped to specific ZIP codes. This left out some large cities — Denver, Las Vegas and Phoenix among them. The remaining 26 cities were ranked based on the number of sanitation complaints per 100,000 residents.
By this metric, Baltimore was found to be the “dirtiest” city, with 42,295 complaints per 100,000 residents. Sacramento was next, with 31,486 complaints. The fewest complaints per capita were found in Milwaukee — just 309 per 100,000 residents.
New York landed in 17th place, with 3,728 complaints per 100,000 residents, or less than a tenth of Baltimore’s rate. Of course, not every neighborhood is equally swept, as shown in this week’s chart. Using ZIP codes to home in on major neighborhoods, the study found that the least sparkling was 11216 — Bedford-Stuyvesant for our purposes — with 7,664 complaints per 100,000 residents. Four Brooklyn ZIP codes were among the city’s dirtiest 10. Four were in Staten Island, and there was one each in the Bronx and Manhattan.
The 11040 ZIP code collected the fewest complaints, just 176 per 100,000 residents. But the distinction comes with a caveat: Only a sliver of the ZIP code, in Glen Oaks, Queens, is actually within city limits. Most of it belongs to New Hyde Park, just east in Nassau County. Next was 10044, Roosevelt Island, with just 274 complaints per 100,000 residents. Among the top 10 cleanest ZIP codes, five were in Manhattan, three were in Queens (at least in part), one was in Brooklyn and one was in the Bronx.