We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.


Bloomberg today reported on the “most vermin-filled cities in the U.S.,” using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013 American Housing Survey, and Washington, D.C. made the list. The data, released last month, shows that the D.C. metropolitan area (which includes parts of Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia) had a higher-than-national percentage of homes with signs of mice in the previous 12 months: 9.1 percent for the U.S. and 14.8 percent for D.C.

Then there were the roaches: more than 10 percent of occupied housing units in the D.C. metro area had evidence of them in the year before the survey was administered. New York had closer to 20 percent of all homes affected, while Tampa led the pack with almost 40 percent of all homes affected. Boston, Chicago, Detroit, and Seattle seem to be less hospitable to cockroaches, each having less than 5 percent of occupied housing units with signs of them.

It’s important to note, as Bloomberg does, that the data is limited: the survey only applies to households (so not the Metro or other public spaces) and only features 25 urban areas—San Francisco and L.A. were left out, for example.

City Desk dug a little deeper into the D.C.-specific data, and found that more than 577,000 occupied housing units in the region had signs of rats, mice, roaches, and “rodents, not sure which kind” in the year preceding the survey.

So congratulations, D.C.! You’re home to 650,000 humans, two pandas, and who knows how many other creatures.

We’re going to end with this harrowing (yet strangely reassuring) video from the District Department of Health on pest control. It was made in 2012; not 30 years ago, as some of the ’80s-looking scenes may lead you to believe.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery