Chicago dubbed ‘forever rat capital in the US’

City had more rat complaints than New York City, Boston and Washington D.C. combined

Chicago /
Nov.November 16, 2021 12:00 PM
Chicago dubbed ‘forever rat capital in the US’

RentHop’s Study depicting Chicago’s rodent population (RentHop, Stock, Photo illustration by Priyanka Modi)

Chicago had more complaints about rats so far this year than New York — even though its population is three times smaller.

More than 60,000 people complained to Chicago’s 311 line between Jan. 1 and Nov. 10, Crain’s Chicago Business reported, citing a study by RentHop. New Yorkers made fewer than 26,000 calls about rats in the same period. Chicago had a population of 2.71 million in 2019 compared with New York’s 8.42 million.

RentHop’s data, which dates to 2016, shows that Chicago has had consistently more rat complaints than New York each year since then, prompting RentHop to dub Chicago “the forever rat capital in the U.S.”

Wondering where they all are? There’s an app for that.

The four cities from which RentHop compiles 311 rat complaints are New York, Chicago, Boston and Washington D.C. because they’re some of the most crowded cities in the nation. “Denser population usually means more apartment buildings, more food sources, and therefore, more rodents,” said analyst Shane Lee,

Chicago complaints topped the combined number from the other three cities, where they totalled just over 40,000. Boston was the only one where the number declined from the previous year. While the increase was bigger In New York and Washington, Chicago had so many that it isn’t likely that New York will seize the dubious honor, Lee said.

Another ranking, from pest control service provider Orkin, found similar results. Based on the number of rat treatments provided, Orkin has ranked Chicago atop its annual “50 rattiest cities” ranking for the past seven years.

Chicago’s Department of Streets & Sanitation had so many rat complaints during the pandemic that it opened two more rodent control offices in the city this fall.

And not to slight New York, the city has its own rat-tracker.

[Crain’s] — Victoria Pruitt





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