Survey: Philadelphia Ranked 2nd Dirtiest City In America

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The City of Brotherly Love has been ranked the second dirtiest city in the U.S., according to a recently released survey by Travel and Leisure magazine.

The magazine included 35 cities ranked on cleanliness, culture, shopping, nightlife, restaurants, pizza, historical sites, museums and more.

The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation isn’t taking this lying down. The agency decided to pull it ads from the publication that is talking trash.

“When you’re getting out an image of the city on one page and you are saying we love you, we love you back, and on the next page they’re saying it’s dirty, that is not a good context for an ad,” said Meryl Levitz, CEO of the GPTMC, which has been advertising in Travel and Leisure for years. “It felt kind of good to pull it.”

Levitz pointed out, a record 37 million people visited Philadelphia and the surrounding area last year, including Marjana Martic, a tourist from Canada who says, “It’s not dirty. It’s nice and neat.”

Last year, the city ranked fourth in the cleanliness category, but this year it moved up to second. The dirtiest city was found to be New Orleans.

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One gripe Levitz says she hears from tourists is the high price of parking. However, cleanliness is not a major concern.

Center City, where many tourists spend their time, certainly isn’t spotless, and that does not go unnoticed by visitors.

“It is a little bit more dirty than other cities I have seen, but I would say the bigger the city is, the more dirty it tends to be,” Ashesh Belapure, a tourist from India said.

“I see a big effort just to make it nicer,” said Jasmina Landekic, from Toronto.

Los Angels, Memphis and New York City rounded out the “dirtiest” five, according to the survey.

Although Philly ranked among the dirtiest, our pizza, historical sites and museums ranked among the best. Philadelphia ranked number four for pizza, behind Chicago, New York and Providence.

Levitz also points out a new poll coming out in U.S. News and World Report which ranks Philadelphia in the top 10 of family friendly summer destinations.

VIEW: Philadelphia Survey Results

Reported by Todd Quinones, CBS 3; Jessica McWilliams,

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One Comment

  1. Jim says:


  2. TT says:

    Because I took the wrong # 37 Bus, I got stuck walking from Essington Avenue via 70th street to Lindbergh Blvd then, along Lindbergh Blvd to 65th Street. I was all bit up because the weeds were taller than me. I don’t even want to get into how much trash was along the streets. The streets are totally un-kepted by everyone, including the city. Additionally, the city never cleans the streets where they have the “No Parking For Street Cleaning” signs.

  3. TT says:

    Because I took the wrong # 37 Bus, I got stuck walking from Essington Avenue via 70th street to Lindbergh Blvd then, along Lindbergh Blvd to 65th Street. I was all bit up because the weeds were taller than me. I don’t even want to get into how much trash was along the streets. The streets are totally up kept by everyone, including the city. Additionally, the city never cleans the streets where they have the “No Parking For Street Cleaning” signs.

  4. Matt says:

    I visited Philadelphia for a convention about five years ago and really enjoyed the historical attractions but one of the first things that stood out was the bags of garbage dumped on the curbs from the downtown bars and restaurants. I’m not sure if that is just the way trash is handled in Philadelphia or what, but to me it was a real eyesore. Sometimes the bags had been ripped open and garbage was scattered out all over the street and sidewalk; not to mention the stench of stale beer.

  5. 908Patriot says:

    Filthy people = Filthy city! Very easy to understand.

    1. Dirty Burbs Too says:

      I am of the belief that people are slobs.

  6. Greg says:

    Living in the Philadelphia suburbs for the past 20 years i can attest to the filth in the city. North philly is the worst, trash, abandoned cars and burned out row homes are everywhere. The residences of north philly don’t care and most don’t work. Center city is also dirty and full of beggers. It might be a good place to visit for a few days but don’t walk far from the main streets as you will get mugged or worse and one of my boys can attest. He was robbed just outside of temple university.

    1. Beckwith says:

      I used to do a little teaching ar Drexel School of Graduate Engineering..

      I’m a walker and often I’d be cruising down a street and, without my asking, a Philly cop would let me know I was headed in the wrong direction.

  7. calabash says:

    The black population is over 40% and growing. Its now offically a majority black. get your fact straight.

  8. Duude says:

    “The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation isn’t taking this lying down.”

    Of course not! They’d get their clothing soiled.

  9. Kathleen says:

    When in PhL or NY it is similar to visiting a third world country, Both are filthy, filled with people who speak every language but English. No coincidence that both cities are headed by mayors and police chiefs who declared PHL and NY de facto sanctuary cities, thereby protecting illegal aliens and simultaneously betraying the citizens who pay the elected/appointed officials’ salaries.

  10. Red Burton says:

    Parts of Chicago are nasty, third-world hellholes as well. The places the tourists never see. I don’t want to resort to generalizations so let’s just call them the “earthier” parts of the Big Windy. Nuff said.

    1. VorpalBlonde says:

      The filth that I am living in here now in Philly (Fishtown) is 10x worse than anything I remember while living in Detroit and surrounding areas for 30 years. There are no street sweepers, there are no garbage cans (just in case anyone is to care) the City workers collecting trash leave so much garbage in their wake on the street, one wonders why and how they are still employed. The residents think nothing of tossing their trash from every ‘corner store’ right onto the ground, and their kids follow suit. Every demographic, every color and creed, just tossing their trash on the pavement for someone else to figure out. Broad street is nothing but a giant toilet – trash heap, Frankford Ave, Front street, Girard, the works. Center CIty might get the occasional sweep when there is a celebrity to come through, but in general Nobody here cares. The city doesn’t spend time money or resources otherwise Sure, we have great pizza and steak sandwiches, you can tell by the boxes and wrappers that litter the ground. This place is disgusting, and the residents are to blame. I can’t wait to leave!

  11. Donna Lauria says:

    Born and raised in South Philadelphia, I am SO HAPPY not to have resided in this disgusting, dirty, drug haven for the last 2-1/2 years. I would NEVER return. This is what your pathetic property taxes get you – living among trash and garbage. Try going to 20th & Snyder – it’s absolutely intolerable. That’s where my husband I lived for 3 years before we were financially able to get out of the city.

    Here’s what your property taxes have gotten you: In the GIRARD ESTATES section of South Philadelphia, where the houses sell for $350,000 and up – A SAV-A-LOT STORE! WOOHOO. If your propety taxes were where they should be – and that would be around $12,000-$15,000 yearly on a house that sellsfor $350,000 – you wouldn’t have ghetto in your neighborhood.

    If the elderly in Sharon Hill can pay $2,800 a year — which is what we pay — then the elderly in Philadelphia can pay higher property taxes.

    Philadelphia is DISGUSTING,DIRTY, AND NOT DESIRABLE. Mayor Nutter beautifies the rich sections and ignores the poor, dirty sections. I never thought I would see the day when I’d say that I’d never return to my home town.

    1. greg says:

      I agree, I hate going into the city. They only reason i have for a visit is to see the phillies play baseball and i never take the broadstree subway.

  12. New Orleans says:

    I am from New Orleans. Yes, our city is dirty. We are responsible for most of the dirtiness. Tourists like to dirty up the French Quarter. Having been to Philly and Detroit, I can say your cities are at least as dirty if not dirtier. But being clean ain’t no fun, so y’all come on down and have a drink with us. When you are done, you can toss your “go cup” on the street on your way to the next bar! :)

    1. 908Patriot says:

      comon downs and shet the place up for us!

  13. Kist Miass says:

    Thank you for that, my thoughts exactly… And yes the place is flithy…

  14. Philthy_PA says:

    When is the last time someone in Philly was stopped and fined for littering? It’s a common occurrence in Philly to see someone at a stoplight toss garbage out of their car. I have to stop myself from getting out of my car and throwing it back in their window.

    1. New Orleans says:

      Smart move. You might get shot enforcing your idea of what should be enforced.

  15. D Black says:

    I’m sorry, but saying ‘it’s just like that’ is an unacceptable excuse. The French Quarter is key to drawing tourists and Bourbon Street is key to the French Quarter. The city can’t build a good portion of its tourist advertising around that area and just dismiss tourist disgust by saying ‘don’t come if you don’t like it, this is just the way it is’. An area can be ‘raucous’ or wild without being a sewer.

    1. Nostromo says:

      This is the city where the legendary Al Hirt was struck in the mouth by a brick or piece of concrete. Pretty raucous.

    2. Andrew says:

      however many thousands of college kids and tourists come per day are primarily what cause Bourbon street to be what it is. The Dirty is the effect, not the cause. All you can do is hope to arrest people you see fouling it, and clean it up regularly, which is what happens. – and you can pick and choose what you want to see. I gave some guy below some easy examples of alternatives to walking down Bourbon street- IF, amazingly, a street called “Bourbon” surprisingly offendes the senses.

    3. New Orleans says:

      Huh? It’s true that tourists come down here, can’t handle their liquor and a place to party, and lose their load all over the streets, but we are responsible for our own dirt out in the East, on the Westbank, in the Lower 9, etc. Did the tourists dirty those areas? I don’t think so.

  16. barbarb says:

    There are many comments that blame the Black population for the filth. It’s because the White population will not allow these residents to prosper by providing garbage cans. If they were allowed to have as many trash cans as most White ‘ENTITLED neighborhoods have, things would be different. You can’t expect them to keep their neighborhoods clean when the White man denies them trash bins.

    1. Jim says:

      LOL this is hilarious. Well done.

  17. slick says:

    Philly is dirty…so many empty houses that are falling down around the city which people use as a garbage cans. …..I am talking blocks of housing that are missing and instead of rebuilding you have empty lots where grass has grown and people use for trash…..I went to Pittsburgh with my daughter to look at their college and was so amazed at how clean the city was, couldn’t stop commenting on the fact that everywhere we went in Pittsburgh, it was so clean….Philly stinks and trust me the first chance I get I am out of this hell hole they call a City!:(

    1. Chris says:

      Couldn’t agree more. A couple of years ago I took the Acela train from Boston to D.C.(on the way to the NCAA hockey finals), and what I remember most about the Philly-Baltimore stretch was all the decrepit row houses. Must be hell during a hot summer.

  18. RufusVonDufus says:

    Newark and Cleveland must be right on their tails!

  19. Brian Bailey says:

    None of the “top five” is anywhere near as dirty as dirty as Newark, NJ.

  20. BK says:

    Working in Philly, I can tell you that a huge problem is the lack of garbage cans. When I get off the train in the morning, I know that if I don’t throw my paper out in the station, I won’t find another garbage can for 6 blocks!

  21. elihu says:

    My keen remembrance of New Orleans, especially in the French Quarter, was the overpowering stench of urine, vomit and alcohol…I guess they go together. It was filthy!

    1. Andrew says:

      Yeah, alot of tourists unfortunatly think that New Orleans is only the French Quarter, and most of those tourists think that The French Quarter is only Bourbon Street. NEWS FLASH: Bourbon street is for drinking and naked women, and what did you expect? If you go to Europe Hating small cars, or China hating rice, or England hating Pubs, you’re not going to enjoy yourself. If you go to the French Quarter thinking that you’re stepping into a sterile, pious sanctuary, you’re going to the wrong place. If you walk on Bourbon street and don’t smell Urine, then you’re not walking on Bourbon street. Don’t be a vegetarian going to a BBQ and then remark that everything seems to be meat.

    2. Barb says:

      You are so right….urine, vomit, alcohol…you forgot sewerage! Went to a conference in New Orleans. I will never go back. I would not take my dog down Bourbon St.

      1. Andrew says:

        Look, if you want to accuse New Orleans of something, accuse it of having terrible city management. Accuse it of having a history of corrupt dealings similar to chicago- our history of corruption is certainly older than Chicago’s. Thats something New Orleans could fix, but has perprtual problems with. Accuse it of being Hot in July- thats something true wherever you go. But if you’re a visitor who thinks you’ve gotten a bead on the city because you came down for a convention and walked through Bourbon street, then you haven’t gotten a bead on the city.- Did you see the +/-dozen art galleries on Julia street in the American Sector? Every Month on white linnen night the street is roped off, and people wear white dress clothes and drink wine and walk about looking at the new art exebitions. DId you Go to the Aquarium or D day Museum? Did you take a street car ride uptown and get a omlet at Camellia Grill? Did you go see where the Lousisana Purchase was signed at the Cabildo or St. Louis Cathedral? These barely scratch the surface – but would have all been acccessable, easily, from whatever hotel you were staying at in the convention center / Downtown area. Anyway, I hope you will get another chance. Don’t bring your dog to bourbon- who walks their dog while drinking?

    3. Peter says:

      If you packed that many strip clubs close together in Philadelphia or New Jersey there would be a series of unfortunate fires until only one was left standing

    4. New Orleans says:

      You tourists make me LMAO. It is you who are dirtying Bourbon street. Think about it? Are you really that stupid? You idiots come to town and go down there. We don’t. You dirtied Bourbon street. You p*ssed on Bourbon street. You threw up on Bourbon street. Why? Because you live in a city where you cannot enjoy your booze in any real manner. Next time you visit a city, you might want to consider leaving the main tourist drag, coullion. Jesus, people like you make me sick. Come down here and run your mouth. You’ll get pummeled in the street, and then you’ll really have something to remember. Some goes for you, “barb”.

      1. gregd01 says:

        I’m from Louisiana but certainly not from New Orleans. Most of us natives hate New Orleans and don’t go there. As for going off the tourist drag in New Orleans, that’s a bad idea. A block or two the wrong way down there and you won’t be coming back. You know its true just from what you wrote, “you’ll get pummeled in the street”. You are just more trash that’s talking trash in a trashy city that we would like to give away to Mississippi.

  22. kelprod says:

    Philly gets exactly what it deserves. This is a direct result of continuing to elect the democratic machine and the lazy/ entitlement attitude that comes with. Philly should enact an alternative sentencing program whereby convicts clean up the city. There is certainly no lack of trash and weeds and also certainly no lack of convicts. Just need some leadership to make it happen….don’t hold your breath.

  23. d black says:

    I like New Orleans, and parts of it, like the Garden District, are lovely. But the filth and smell I’m talking about have nothing to do with some extra vegetation and low lying land. It has to do with garbage and grime. And the disrepair too goes well beyond mere age.

    1. Andrew says:

      Well if you go into a ‘run down’ area then you’re talking about people who don’t make alot of money or don’t own their property and don’t care about littering their own yard, and if you went anywhere in the country and put those things together you’d get garbage and grime and it doesn’t have uniquely to do with New Orleans. The Lower Garden District is a perfect example of age being the problem- If you make a moderate income, its very difficult to maintain a 16′-0″ ceiling Suburban mansion built before the Civil War was fought. The moisture from the ground seeps up into the masonry, if you have air-conditioning it provokes condinsation within the plaster. 200 years is a long time for termits to have their go at the wood, let along the dozens of hurricane they’ve weathered. Its a constant battle to maintain those properties- they’re usually sold at half the value you’d imagine them to be worth becuase it takes alot of labor and investment to keep them going, alot more than a casual observer would understand.

  24. cleveland says:

    I worked in two different sections of the city for twenty years: west and south philly. I was once on the corner of 52nd and Diamond and was literally in ankle deep trash. Pigs. I remember being on Mercy St in south philly by 20th or near there. Up and down the street littered with trash. Pigs.

  25. pags0668 says:

    BTW – that is why it is nicknamed

    1. Marbran says:

      You beat me to it! It’s been called Philthadelphia since I was a kid growing up there in the 70’s, so probably even before. Blowing trash, newspapers, just dirt and grime everywhere. Unlike Denver which is spotless.

  26. pags0668 says:

    I live in Southern NJ and couldn’t agree with this more. Actually, I am surprised it is not number 1.

    The city smells like a toilet and quite honestly that is what the homeless use it for. I think they need to take a page out of Rudy’s book and start cleaning up the streets of the homeless first. Then and only then can they tackle the rest of the problems.

  27. Filth says:

    Filth begats filth. Look to the people who live there.

  28. D Black says:

    I couldn’t comment on Philadelphia’s current condition since I haven’t been there for a number of years (though I don’t remember noting that it was particularly dirty then) but I was in New Orleans only two months ago and parts of it at least are a stye. Filthy, rank smelling, and in horrible disrepair besides. And these are areas that were not severely affected by Katrina though that would be a weak excuse for being in the condition it’s in this many years along regardless. It easily deserves the #1 ranking.

  29. j Kahan says:

    I am from Philly and I have complained about this for years.

    Visit DC, San Francisco, Toronto, Chicago, Boston – then visit Philly, we look like a dump.

    This has little to do with politics, it is more about how proud the resident’s of these cities are of their neighborhoods.

  30. James - Longdrycreek Ranch, Texas Panhandle says:

    Philadephia has incredible art and entertainment venues. Yet east of the Convention Center, I walked from a parking lot to the Center. The litter, obviously there for some time, indicates the City has major problems with organzation of its overpaid unon man power.
    The PHL Airport restrooms are a disgrace. I fly out of PHL several times a year, and nothing seems to improve. No management at the Airport either.
    When the flower show comes to the Convention Center, the restrooms are clean. Once the show ends, back to normal. Part of the problem is the low life that gathers in Market East and trashes the place. Flash gangs are a symptom of the City’s inadequate preparation for keeping the city clean or maintaining order. A clean city and maintain order are related.
    I hope Mayor Nutter understands the problem, and the lack luster city council and city administration understand: The time for PHL is running out. Once gone, curtains.

  31. George says:

    I guess Philadelphia has not learned that the truth hurts. Philadelphia also drove Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity off the air when they made truthful derogatory remarks about the city center. I live here and I will tell you that, except for a very few square miles, the city is a toilet.

    1. j kahan says:

      Having good taste in our media is completely different…..

      1. John Williams says:

        The left loves to censor unless it’s an “artist” dipping a crucifix in urine. That needs protection at all cost.

  32. The Spartan says:

    Here’s the answer: issue a broom, dust pan, a large box of Glad bags – Lawn Sized – and a city-issued baseball cap to all welfare recipients living in Philly. They pay them according to the number of bags of garbage they collect in an 8 hour period. And fire the overpaid union workers who apparently aren’t doing the job.

    1. j kahan says:

      I do like this idea a lot. People complain about Chicago politics, Philly’s is worse. It is rotten to the core from just below the Mayor’s office and there isn’t anything he can do about it.

    2. RufusVonDufus says:

      Great idea, but you know the unions and the Dem politicians will not go along with you. You need another mayor like the governor. What a crumb he was/is!

  33. FreedomScribe says:

    They don’t call it Philth-adelphia for nothing.

  34. Mark Matis says:

    Now isn’t THIS a real surprise! Wonder what these two cities might have in common…

  35. Pepecito says:

    A UNION PRO CHOICE City you must be so proud… all the Paid people can’t pickup all the McDonald Wrappers left in every corner of philly

  36. popseal says:

    There is a direct corelation between the rate of welfare payments and violence in any neighborhood in any city in America. Welfare strips the recepients of dignity and self esteem, resulting in the typical inner city environment.

  37. Herr says:

    excellent Olenka, I admired

  38. popseal says:

    Fly into Phoenix’s Sky Harbour and then fly into New Orleans’ Armstrong Intl. The N.O. facility is like a Bolivian third world terminal, to say nothing of the filthy drive into the CBD’.

    1. New Orleans says:

      Are you freaking kidding me? The drive from MSY to the CBD is not nearly as bad as coming in from the East or the Westbank. If you think you saw filth, you have no idea what you are talking about. Have fun puking your guts out on Bourbon St. when you find out how little you can handle your liquor. I hope you don’t get rolled in the gutter, but it could happen. A fair number of drunken tourists wander off of Bourbon street and head towards Rampart Street. You know what happens then? You get killed. So if you think it is bad, you really don’t know the half of it, do you? Be smart, watch your back and watch your mouth.

      1. The Cheetah says:

        Yeah and Louis Armstrong Park is not a tourist destination unless you wish to commit suicide. This commenter is right, stay away if you value you life. New Orleans is not a place to go and relax, you must be on guard at all times. Not to mention 90% of the citizens are con artists.

  39. L Dan says:

    Hey, This something Mayor Nutter should be proud of.

  40. P_Kersey says:

    It is the same in EVERY major city in USA to some extent.
    It will not change UNTIL enough good people rise up and shout truth to power. The government is at fault for this on every level. The media has also propped this idiocracy up since the 60’s. Many are waking up – and they are fed up with the excuses… A day of reckoning is inevitable, or America will become 3rd world shi@hole!

    1. RufusVonDufus says:

      And what do these big cities all have in common? Yea, you only got one guess and you nailed it. Congratulations!

  41. Dan says:

    Lincoln tried that and they shot him.

  42. Midia-LifeLongPhillyDude says:


  43. bob says:

    Only democrats litter

  44. barbarab says:

    They don’t call it “FILTHADELPHIA” for no reason. LOL

  45. IrisE says:

    I grew up outside Philadelphia and went to college there. We own a Townhouse in Philly. I can say that as the # of no show jobs in Philadelphia’s public sector has increased exponentially – they cleanliness of the city has gone DOWN. If they want to fiscally turn the city around they have to significantly decrease the government and sub-contract the cleaning to private companies. At least they can fire them when the work isn’t done. I do have to say when Rendell was Mayor the city was somewhat cleaner.

  46. RobininSC says:

    Seriously, what is/are the common denominators of all these filthy cities?

  47. Melissa says:

    Having traveled recently, Philly has the dirtiest airport of the four I was in. First impression to people arriving by plane.

    1. Marbran says:

      It’s an east coast thing. Whenever I return thru Philly or Baltimore airports, from other parts of the country or abroad, the first thing I notice is how rude the workers are at both airports. It is stunningly apparent to anyone not exposed to it every day.

  48. Coleen Sherry says:

    I moved here in 2002 when my husband was recruited for his job, and after riding in the cab from the airport to the hotel, I cried. During that short trip, I saw a very dirty city, and my opinion has not changed in the nearly nine years that we’ve been here. Before moving, I had read a blurb in the USA Today about a revitalization plan for Philadelphia, which gave me some hope, but if it’s made much of an impact, I don’t see it. I avoid the city when I can. There are certainly areas that are much cleaner and neater than others, but compared to Seatte, from where we came, people here seem to be content with a much lower standard of cleanliness. Philly is a wonderful city with a lot to offer families, but its image could certainly use more attention to detail where cleanliness is concerned.

  49. S Lauren says:

    This city is disgusting. Gum, cigarette butts, and garbage all over the place
    I travel quite a bit. You know how I can tell I’m home in Philly? By getting on the Broad Street Line, which reeks of urine. It’s like, “Ahhhh…I’m home.” Seriously, none of the other cities’ subways [that I’ve used (London, NYC, DC, et al)] have that unique Philly odor.
    My favorite Philly story: A woman changed her kid’s diaper on a SEPTA bus. She threw the diaper out the open bus door. Classy.
    So, the Philadelphia Tourism board pulled their ads? The truth must hurt.

  50. SJ says:

    Dirtiest, only exceeded by New Orleans. HAHAHAHA.

  51. Sick of Philly says:

    Philly is a cesspool. It’s an absolute filth pot. The restaurants are a disgrace, the parks are littered with trash, the stadiums stink like a carnival and the restrooms haven’t been cleaned since the 60s. I would never get food from any street vendors and most of the public walk ways are plastered with cig butts, gum, spit, and other gross items. This article is dead on! No money to clean up when the democrats have taken the tax dollars for their pensions and pet projects.

    1. grumpy says:

      In Philly, they blame the Dems. In Chester, they blame the Repubs. None of these political parties care about anything except their own perks!

      1. privatouring says:

        Would anyone like to compare the mid-line of cleanliness and honest administration between Republican and Democrat administration? The Golden Rule of the Democrats, socialists, marxists, and msm is that if a Republican double parks he should be shot before a firing squad, and if a Democrat rapes little boys he should have a standing ovationon the floor of the House of Representatives.

    2. delairspike says:

      agreed…the sad thing is, if you go into Philly from Camden, you see Philly as a step up

  52. Nostromo says:

    I believe it. Dirtier than only a decade ago. Even the pigeons’re becoming more discerning.

  53. ad14jc says:

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