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The ‘Greenest’ Cities in the United States

by Allie Moore

Jul 31, 2020

Honolulu © Tomas Del Amo | Dreamstime.com

Trends / Sustainability

With plastic product bans sweeping the country and American companies continuously finding ways to cut carbon emissions, new green initiatives in individual states seem to pop up every day. Based on data gathered by Zippia — a job-search site that also provides stats on the livability of certain cities — here is a current list of U.S. cities that have taken large steps toward becoming more environmentally friendly.


Ninety-nine cities were ranked based on five factors: car ownership (the fewer number of people who own cars, the greener the city), commute length, parkland per 1,000 people, tons of waste produced per person and walkability. Zappia also considered data from the United States Census American Community Survey.


St. Paul, Minnesota
The capital of Minnesota ranks highest on the list of greenest cities, partly due to having the shortest commute time among U.S. cities. The city also produces just 12 tons of waste per person and boasts a healthy amount of outdoor space.


Honolulu, Hawai’i
Only 69 percent of residents own a car, but Honolulu is not famous for its walkability. Instead, residents rely on the city’s well-connected public transportation system to get around.


St. Louis, Missouri
With a low amount of waste produced per person (22.3 tons), St. Louis residents also have one of the shortest average commutes among major metro areas.


Madison, Wisconsin
Despite a high car-ownership score for this sprawling city, Madison still ranks high on the list.


San Diego, California
One of the least-surprising cities on the list, San Diego’s opportunities for walking and outdoor leisure are major reasons for its high ranking.


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