These Are The "Greenest" Cities In The US In 2018

San Diego came in at #1. f11photo/Shutterstock

Under the reigns of the Trump administration, the US government has pulled out of the Paris climate agreement, made a farce out of the Environmental Protection Agency, tried to make the dying coal industry a thing again, and is currently working to kill the Endangered Species Act and open up most US waters to offshore oil and natural gas drilling.

Suffice to say, it’s a heart-wrenching time to be eco-friendly in America. Thankfully, however, many important environmental policies are decided on at state and regional levels, meaning that there are geographic havens where rightfully concerned citizens trying to live as sustainably as possible, and are actually supported in this endeavor by local infrastructure and economic incentives. Want to know which areas fall into this category, as of 2018 (so you can immediately go on Craigslist to see how much a two bedroom costs a month)?

Researchers at the financial advising website Wallet Hub have just released their ranking of the country’s 100 most populous cities, based on scores for 26 “green” indicators across four categories: environment, transportation, energy sources, and lifestyle & policy. Examples of specific indicators include greenhouse gas emissions per capita, air quality, walk- and bike-ability, number of community green spaces, percentage of electricity from renewable sources, number of smart energy initiatives, and more.


You can check out the full ranking, plus more information about Wallet Hub’s methodology and data sources, here, but bear in mind that this list was not compiled as part of any formal scientific research.

Now, without further ado, here are the top 10:

1.       San Diego, California

2.       San Francisco, California


3.       Washington, DC

4.       Irvine, California

5.       San Jose, California

6.       Honolulu, Hawaii


7.       Fremont, California

8.       Seattle, Washington

9.       Sacramento, California

10.   Portland, Oregon

Infographic courtesy of Wallet Hub

And, sadly, the bottom 10:

90. Jacksonville, Florida

91. Gilbert, Arizona

92. Cleveland, Ohio


93. Mesa, Arizona

94. Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky

95. Detroit, Michigan

96. Memphis, Tennessee


97. Toledo, Ohio

98. St. Louis, Missouri

99. Corpus Christi, Texas

100. Baton Rouge, Louisiana


In addition to helping prevent the ecological apocalypse, many of the metrics used to calculate the rankings correspond to factors that have a significant direct impact on human health and longevity. Numerous recent studies have linked particulate air pollution to a greater risk of dementia, multiple types of cancer, preterm births and infant mortality, and even declines in intelligence. On the flipside, accessibility of nature and green spaces have been repeatedly associated with positive mental health outcomes. And we probably don’t need to remind you that having the opportunity to bike to work and buy fresh produce at a farmer’s market is better for you than sitting in a car stuck in traffic while dining on preservative-laden fast food.

If your home city doesn’t fall favorably on this list, yes, you could pick up and move to one that does. Or you can help change the culture of where you do live through environmental activism and probably the most important and powerful tool you have – your vote.


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