25 Cities With the Biggest Cockroach Problems

Cockroaches are the last thing anybody wants to see in their home. But according to data from the Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey, nearly 14 million households reported seeing cockroaches in their homes during the year. At Pest Strategies, we’re committed to helping people solve their pest problems, including cockroaches. With that in mind, we dug into the data to find the cities with the most cockroach sightings in the United States.

We used the data provided by the American Housing Survey to determine the top 25 cities where you’re most likely to see roaches. By cross-referencing a city’s population by the total number of cockroaches, we created a ranking based on cockroach sightings per 10,000 residents. Keep reading to find out which cities have the biggest roach problems and why they are so heavily infested with them.

Main Findings

Houston is at the top of the list of cities with the most cockroach sightings, with a total of 3,524 cockroach sightings per 10,000 residents. New Orleans comes next, with 2,975, and Atlanta is not far behind with 2,935. Those three cities are followed by Miami with 2,603 sightings per 10,000 residents and Raleigh at 2,412 to round out the top five. 

Each of these locations is located in the southern region of the U.S., and they share a common characteristic of hot weather. Warm climates present the perfect condition year-round for cockroaches to breed and feed, typically using your home or office to do so. Cockroaches aren’t too different from humans — both head indoors when the weather gets too hot. While you’re making the temperature inside cozy for you, you’re likely also attracting roaches who prefer it comfortable, not hot.

Texas is known for doing things big. According to research at Texas A&M, the American cockroach, commonly found in the state, can grow up to two inches long and the warm, humid weather conditions in Texas are ideal for this species of cockroaches. With a population of 2.3 million residents, Houston has the highest number of cockroach sightings, with 831,700 roaches spotted. An honorable mention goes to Dallas, another major city in Texas that landed not far behind at number six on the list with 508,100 sightings. 

The other four cities in the top four, New Orleans, Atlanta, Miami, and Raleigh, are also known for their hot summers with moist air. New Orleans and Miami are located on the waterfronts, creating an even more ideal condition for cockroaches to appear. According to World Population Review, not only are their respective states of Louisiana and Florida in the top five most humid states, but the cities themselves, New Orleans and Miami, rank in the top 10 most humid cities in the U.S. with an index of over 70 percent each. New Orleans and Raleigh have some of the smallest populations in this list of Top 25 cities, with just over 500,000 residents but with cockroach sightings above 100,000 each, it means that there’s a roach for every four or five people — and that’s just what’s reported.

Several cities in the U.S.  attract cockroaches far less than the top five. The cities with the fewest cockroach sightings per 10,000 residents are Seattle (67), Portland (93), Detroit (128), Pittsburgh (159), and Milwaukee (225). Just as the top five cities are all located in a region of the U.S. with the perfect weather conditions for cockroaches, the bottom five cities are locations with less favorable environments. These five cities are in the northern region of the U.S. and have colder temperatures that lead to a decrease in survival and mobility of cockroaches. These unfavorable weather conditions help suppress sightings year-round, especially in the winter months.

Interesting Findings

It may seem like the bigger the city, the more cockroaches you’ll find, but that’s far from the truth. In fact, the top five worst cities for cockroaches have the two “smallest” cities on the list: New Orleans and Raleigh. In contrast, Seattle, with its population of over 1.5 million, and Portland, with just under one million residents, make them two of the largest cities in the Pacific Northwest. Still, these two cities have less than 100 cockroach sightings per 10,000 people.

Research findings at Washington State University may give insight into why this is. The most common cockroach in the Pacific Northwest is the German cockroach, growing up to only ½ inch long — that’s a quarter of the size of the American Cockroach — and it lives for 12 months versus two years. These cockroaches are night-dwellers and tend to hide in dark places like walls or between appliances during the day. Due to their nature, you wouldn’t see them as frequently as American cockroaches, and not to mention the colder weather makes it less favorable for them to breed and survive.

Methodology

Our list of top 25 cities with the most cockroach sightings was collected from the U.S. Census data published by the American Housing Survey. We focused on cockroach sightings compared to the total population in the city. Then, we created a ratio to determine how many cockroaches are reported per 10,000 residents.