You can look at Reader's Digest and discover that Portland, OR ranks as the cleanest city and Chicago, IL ranks as the dirtiest city in terms of air, water, toxins, hazardous waste, and general sanitation. While it's interesting to know that Las Vegas got the lowest score for the condition of its streets, have you ever wondered what the cleanest and dirtiest cities were inside people's homes? There's no way, of course, to reasonably analyze whose citizens most keep their homes clean, but looking at the demand for maid service is one reasonable method of gauging how important it is for people to keep their homes clean and how they go about doing it.
From the database at ServiceMagic.com, the leader in matching homeowners to licensed service professionals, we took the number of maid requests over the third quarter of this year and the number of requests for the past month and the same month from last year to look at larger trends.
To generate a score adjusted for population, we took the number of maid service requests per 100,000 people.
Top 5 Cleanest Cities
5. Los Angeles, CA25.1
Not accounting for population, Los Angeles registers more demand for maid service than any other city. Last year, it may have ranked #1, but the housing market has also hit this city hardest. A 14 percent drop in demand doesn't even give an accurate picture of the trends in the Los Angeles suburbs. In Orange County, for example, there has been a precipitous 26.5 percent drop-off this past month from last year. The data lends some evidence to support the stereotype that maid service in southern California is largely a luxury item.
4. Chicago, IL30.0
Sure, Chicago has the same populous suburbs and traffic congestion of many of these other cities, but it still outstrips these other three cities in terms of maid service requests, adjusted for population. What really puts Chicago in the #2 slot, however, is the resiliency maid service demand has shown. A city, like Los Angeles, that is getting hit hard by the slowing economy, Chicago has seen the demand drop off by only a moderate 6.5 percent from last year.
3. Austin, TX32.2
In a city without a large satellite system of suburbs, this city sticks out for its high proportional maid service demand. Some people might be tempted to buy into the stereotype that the large Hispanic population in some way increases the culture and demand of maid service, but cities like San Antonio, El Paso, Miami, Phoenix, and San Diego don't register this level of demand. In fact, our research shows a high concentration of young, urban professionals and the large university presence more dramatically influences demand.
2. Atlanta, GA33.3
This one might surprise you, but external factors have made many Atlanta residents cherish someone else doing the cleaning. Populous suburbs and brutal congestion have made for long work weeks and little leisure time. Trying to negotiate "Spaghetti Junction" at I-285 and I-85 during the daily commute and, then, coming home to a kitchen full of dirty dishes can kill the soul. The exploding population has also helped demand stay fairly constant over this past year.
1. Washington, D.C.46.5
Not only does D.C. generate the most demand for maid service, it is one of the few cities where we've seen demand increaseby a healthy 6.4 percent from last year. Plus, many of the other major cities where we've seen this type of growth, such as Houston and Dallas, have largely escaped the depressed housing market and slowing economy. A third the size of New York and half the size of Los Angeles, the greater D.C. area registers almost 85 percent of maid service requests. Of course, the makeup of the city, full of working class members and Beltway operatives, along with another strong dose of traffic, may help explain this demand and resiliency in the maid service market.
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Other Areas of Maid Service Demand
By looking further into ServiceMagic's database, the most striking trend is the correlation between maid service demand and college towns. We restricted this list to major metropolitan areas, but smaller cities with major universities register some of the highest per population scores in the entire country. These numbers help show how college towns and the service industry dominate the economic activity of these locales.