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Thursday, March 30, 2023
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New York City’s Explosive Increase in Rats Over Last 65 Years

  • New York City’s rat population has grown exponentially since the middle of the 20th century.
  • In 1950, an estimated 250,000 rats lived in the city. By 2014, there were an estimated 2 million.
  • The rise is partly due to changes in how the city deals with trash, and how quickly rats breed.

New York City’s rats are relentless. They’re also everywhere — in sewers and parks, underfoot, on the subways, and even in your walls. 

They’ve been in New York since the 18th century, and they’ve taken a firm hold — current estimates put the rat population at about 2 million across 90% of the city, according to The Atlantic.

For as long as rats have scurried across the city, politicians and locals have sworn to destroy them. But so far, no one’s managed. 

Here’s how rats took hold of the city — and why they’re not about to let go.



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