Jersey City has many charms: a killer view of Manhattan, historic neighborhoods, Liberty State Park, and unparalleled ethnic diversity, to name just a few. Cleanliness, however, isn't on the list, at least according to a new study ranking Chilltown as the fifth dirtiest in America. And residents would appear to agree.

Using publicly available data, the website LawnStarter looked at 152 of the 200 largest cities in America and ranked them in four categories: Pollution, Living Conditions, Infrastructure, and Consumer Satisfaction.

With an overall weighted score of 48.11 Jersey City was rated the fifth dirtiest city. In contrast, the cleanest city, Virginia Beach received a score of 19.07. Jersey City fared particularly badly in the categories of Pollution and Consumer Satisfaction.

Residents seem to agree that litter is a very big problem.

Data obtained by the Montreal Olympics following a two year court fight with the city, shows that complaints about litter, debris, garbage and illegal dumping led all categories by a wide margin in from 2020 to 2022.

With the help of a computational fellow at Columbia Journalism School, JCT analyzed complaints made to the “SeeClickFix” system, Jersey City's app for reporting everything from fallen power lines to noisy dogs. Litter, garbage, debris, trash and illegal dumping were the most common complaints by a wide margin.

SeeClickFix Analysis
Prepared by Sarah Grevy Gotfredsen (Computational fellow at Columbia Journalism School)

Complaints like Wayne M's below on are not uncommon.

Courtesy of

Jersey City has company nearby. Newark ranked second dirtiest city in America with a score of 55.25.

The mayor's spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment on the study.

Aaron is a writer, musician and lawyer. Aaron attended Berklee College of Music and the State University of New York at Purchase. Aaron served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador. He received a J.D....