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The Dirtiest American City and 9 More: Are Your Kids Growing Up in One?

air quality, air pollution

Dirty, dirty, dirty. In other words: home!

What a tourist thinks about a city and what the city’s own residents think about it can often be quite different. A city’s draw for outsiders can be a yawn — or even sore spot — for some locals (New Orleans’ French Quarter, perhaps?) Then again, the part tourists inevitably hate — say, freeway traffic in Southern California — is something those who live with it just, sort of, live with.

So keep that in mind when you read what Travel + Leisure readers have decided are this year’s dirtiest cities, a place you and your kids may even call home.  Also keep in mind that sometimes what readers think isn’t dirty, might actually be very dirty. (Looking at you, Phoenix!)

Oh, PS: New York City and Los Angeles are on the list. But they’re not at the top, so there.

T+L’s 10 dirtiest cities in the U.S.:

  1. New Orleans
  2. Philadelphia
  3. Los Angeles
  4. Memphis
  5. New York
  6. Baltimore
  7. Las Vegas
  8. Miami
  9. Atlanta
  10. Houston

In my experience, there are almost always clean places to be found in “dirty” cities. Even with regard to air quality, there are swaths that are bad and swaths that are OK and if you’re lucky (read: not poor), your kids get to live with less than 24-hour particulate matter saturation (spoken like a true resident of Los Angeles County, no?)

Do you think T+L readers got this right? What do you do about raising your kids in a dirty city? Air masks? Hazmat suits? Hospital-grade bubble? Frequent hand-washing?

Photo: rococohobo via flickr

Whether you’re in one of these cities or live far, far away, feel at home with one of these city kid/country kid children’s books!

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