10 U.S. Cities With the Worst Pest Problems

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Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on Construction Coverage.

No household wants to face a pest problem, but over 14 million U.S. households encounter rodents, roaches, or other pests each year, according to the Census Bureau.

These pests can trigger a variety of health concerns including asthma and may bring disease into the home. Once they establish themselves, pests can also damage the home itself and property inside.

To determine the locations with the worst pest problem, researchers at Construction Coverage calculated a composite index equally weighing the percentage of households with rodents and percentage of households with cockroaches for each location. The data used in this analysis is from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey.

Here are the major metropolitan areas with the worst pest problems.

10. New Orleans-Metairie, LA

New Orleans street scene
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  • Composite index: 58.3
  • Percentage of households with rodents: 5.8%
  • Percentage of households with cockroaches: 29.8%
  • Percentage of homes built before 1940: 13.0%
  • Median household income: $48,600

9. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH

Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Composite index: 60.4
  • Percentage of households with rodents: 18.4%
  • Percentage of households with cockroaches: 2.9%
  • Percentage of homes built before 1940: 32.6%
  • Median household income: $87,000

8. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI

Chicago, Illinois
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  • Composite index: 62.5
  • Percentage of households with rodents: 13.3%
  • Percentage of households with cockroaches: 4.5%
  • Percentage of homes built before 1940: 20.7%
  • Median household income: $72,000

7. Raleigh, NC

Raleigh, North Carolina
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • Composite index: 64.6
  • Percentage of households with rodents: 8.9%
  • Percentage of households with cockroaches: 24.1%
  • Percentage of homes built before 1940: 2.9%
  • Median household income: $75,000

6. Kansas City, MO-KS MSA

Kansas City
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  • Composite index: 64.6
  • Percentage of households with rodents: 12.2%
  • Percentage of households with cockroaches: 6.4%
  • Percentage of homes built before 1940: 12.2%
  • Median household income: $67,000

5. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA

New York City
Songquan Deng / Shutterstock.com
  • Composite index: 66.7
  • Percentage of households with rodents: 11.2%
  • Percentage of households with cockroaches: 11.1%
  • Percentage of homes built before 1940: 27.7%
  • Median household income: $70,000

4. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX

Houston, Texas
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  • Composite index: 68.8
  • Percentage of households with rodents: 6.8%
  • Percentage of households with cockroaches: 35.2%
  • Percentage of homes built before 1940: 2.4%
  • Median household income: $60,000

3. Memphis, TN-MS-AR

Memphis, Tennessee
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  • Composite index: 68.8
  • Percentage of households with rodents: 11.1%
  • Percentage of households with cockroaches: 18.6%
  • Percentage of homes built before 1940: 4.9%
  • Median household income: $45,000

2. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD

Philadelphia, downtown evening rush hour.
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  • Composite index: 72.9
  • Percentage of households with rodents: 18.9%
  • Percentage of households with cockroaches: 6.1%
  • Percentage of homes built before 1940: 22.6%
  • Median household income: $71,570

1. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

Washington, D.C. traffic with Capitol Building in background
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  • Composite index: 75.0
  • Percentage of households with rodents: 15.1%
  • Percentage of households with cockroaches: 8.6%
  • Percentage of homes built before 1940: 8.1%
  • Median household income: $100,000

Methodology

Man analyzing data on a laptop
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The data used in this analysis is from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey for the year 2019, the most recent data available.

To determine the locations with the worst pest problem, researchers calculated a composite index equally weighing the percentage of households with rodents and the percentage of households with cockroaches for each location.

In the event of a tie, the location with the higher percentage of households with rodents was ranked higher. Only select metropolitan areas and states with data available from the American Housing Survey were considered in the analysis.