Why are there such a vast number of rats in New York City?

For many years there have been legends surrounding the number of rats that are living in the sewers of New York City. Many people stated that the rat population outnumbers humans. As rats are mostly found in sewers and other dark spaces in city centers, it was difficult to argue with this assumption. However, in 2014 scientists set out to find out how many rats there actually were. The answer was surprising. And scary. Even though the rat population is much less than what was believed (only about 24% of the human population) that still means that there are over 2 million rats in NYC. It is also reported that the rat population grew by 10% between 2016 and 2017. That means that the problem is becoming worse.


NYC has a very large population. This means that people live in close proximity to each other and they discard a large amount of food and rubbish. This is all the rat population needs to survive. They are able to find shelter in dumpsters and sewers that are readily available. New York is not the only metropolis in the world that has a rat problem. It is simply one of the largest and best known. As there are not as many natural predators as in rural areas the rats are able to breed unhindered. They also have an underground sewer system that has direct access to the streets and allows the rats to come and go as they please. 

Solving the problem 

It would be close to impossible to eliminate all of the rats in NYC. In order to do this, you will need to eliminate all food sources and close up all of the places where they hide. This means that NYC will need to revamp their entire waste management system. As this is not a short-term solution there are some things that you can do to keep them out of your home. 

  • Close up all openings in the façade of your home to keep them out. 
  • Remove open food containers and don’t leave food in areas where it can attract rats. 
  • Close your garbage cans properly to keep them from accessing the food inside. 
  • Do not leave large piles of rubble of wood outside your home. They will establish nests in this. 

Getting rid of rats 

If you already have a rat in your home, it is advisable to get rid of it as soon as possible. As soon as the breeding season comes around, they will have babies in your home and then your problem grows exponentially. You can place electric traps in the areas where you suspect the rat(s) are staying. As soon as they enter the trap, they will be electrocuted. This is a quick and painless way to get rid of unwanted rodents in your home. You can then remove the dead rat and set the trap again until you are sure that you have rid your home of rats.