The calendar says we're still a bit too early for Spring cleaning, but in at least one Tri-State (Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota) city they keep things very tidy all year round.

Lawn Starter has ranked the 152 biggest cities in America based on how clean they are.

The cleanest cities on the list scored the highest in four key categories:

  • Pollution (air and water quality)
  • Living Conditions (population density, mold, pests)
  • Infrastructure (amount of waste in landfills, recycling collections)
  • Consumer Satisfaction
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Des Moines
Kyle Kempt via Unsplash

One Tri-State city is among the clean elite in 2023.

Iowa's capital city of Des Moines is the fourth cleanest city in America.

The city had top 25 scores in all four categories.


  1. Virginia Beach, Virginia
  2. Sunnyvale, California
  3. Norfolk, Virginia
  4. Des Moines, Iowa
  5. Fremont, California
  6. Buffalo, New York
  7. Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  8. Huntsville, Alabama
  9. Greensboro, North Carolina
  10. Roseville, California

Minnesota and South Dakota's biggest cities all landed in the top 40 on the clean list.

St. Paul was 20th and Minneapolis was 22nd.

Sioux Falls was 37th overall but did very well in two specific areas.

South Dakota's largest city sits alongside Mobile, Alabama; Tampa, Florida; Honolulu, Hawaii; Cleveland, Ohio, Providence, Rhode Island; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the lowest tonnage of waste in landfills per 100 thousand residents.

Sioux Falls is also tied with Lincoln, Nebraska; Norfolk, Virginia; Newport News, Virginia; and Syracuse, New York for the fifth-best air quality in the United States.

As for the dirtiest cities, Texas, California, and New Jersey, all had multiple locations land in the bottom 10.


  1. Houston, Texas
  2. Newark, New Jersey
  3. San Bernardino, California
  4. Detroit, Michigan
  5. Jersey City, New Jersey
  6. Bakersfield, California
  7. San Antonio, Texas
  8. Fresno, California
  9. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  10. Yonkers, New York

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