Rats are a big part of life in New York City. They scurry across our sidewalks. They make off with our slices of pizza. They're even the subject of an “academy” on the Upper West Side. But, as it turns out, Gotham doesn't have the worst rat problem in the country.
On Monday, Orkin released its annual Top 50 Rattiest Cities list, which ranks metropolitan regions by the number of rodent treatments the company performed from September 15, 2016, to the same date this year. Chicago took the top spot for the fourth consecutive year, and New York ranked second on the list. Judging a city's rat population by the number of deployments by a single extermination company is by no means scientific, but the rankings do provide New Yorkers with the silver lining that their city might not be the biggest haven for the pesky rodents.
A dig into public data does support Orkin's claim, though. During the period studied by the company, there were 34,693 rodent-related 311 service requests made across the five boroughs, according to the city's data portal. Chicago's data portal shows that there were a whopping 51,272 requests made during that same stretch.
In any case, a 2014 study found that there are roughly two million rats living in New York City, more than the entire population of Manhattan. So that's fun.