Vermin are so common in some cities that they’re practically honorary citizens. So it’s not surprising that the U.S. Census Bureau is interested in knowing just how many rats, mice, and cockroaches are living among us rent-free.
Bloomberg recently analyzed the results of the 2015 American Housing Survey (AHS) to see which metropolitan areas have the biggest pest problems. Among questions about the respondent’s home and neighborhood, the survey asked whether they’d encountered traces of cockroaches, rats, or mice in the past year.
The verdict isn’t pretty for residents of New Orleans: More than 41 percent of households there reported cockroaches, besting Houston, Miami, and Atlanta as the country’s top roach haven. Philadelphia had the highest rates of rats and mice, with 18 percent of homes citing evidence of the vermin. Boston, Washington D.C., and Milwaukee were a few of the other major rodent offenders. And while it doesn’t hold the number one spot in either category, New York is the all-around worst city for pests. Sixteen percent of households there (or 1.1 million) reported roaches and 15 percent (also around 1.1 million) reported rats and mice.
The Census Bureau doesn’t compile this data to make us feel squeamish—better information can help exterminators plan more effective attacks on pest populations in the future. To make your home an inhospitable environments for disease-carrying rodents and roaches, Popular Mechanics recommends sealing up any possible entryways and keeping plants and junk away from your house's exterior.