Phoenix Ranks As One of the Top Rudest Cities in America

For those who travel often, experiencing cultural mismatches can be common. Even among cities in the same country, there are differences in local traditions, behaviors, mannerisms, and sayings that can affect our opinions of a place.

Preply surveyed over 1,500 residents of the 30 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. and asked them about the rudeness level of their city, including the prominence of certain typically rude behaviors, to help travelers determine what to expect when visiting. Respondents also answered questions about cultural differences abroad.

Key findings

  • The rudest U.S. cities include Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Memphis, Tennessee, and New York City, New York, according to their own residents.
  • The most common rude behaviors in the US include people being absorbed by their phones,refusing to let people merge in traffic, and being noisy in shared spaces.
  • Memphis ranked highest in five common rude behaviors, the most of any city.
  • Of the total respondents, 76% agree that Americans tend to act rudely when traveling abroad, even if it’s unintentional.

The rudest U.S. cities, according to residents

According to their own residents, the three rudest U.S. cities are Philadelphia, Memphis, and New York City. Preply asked respondents to rate the rudeness of the average resident of their city on a scale of one to ten. Compared to the average rudeness score of 5.10, these cities scored 6.43, 6.05, and 6.00, respectively.

If you’re familiar with American culture, this may not come as a shock to you. Although nicknamed the “City of Brotherly Love,” Americans typically stereotype Philadelphians as rude, but locals tend to attribute their behavior to a feeling of insularity in the city. Reluctant to incorporate outsiders, many residents have learned to keep to themselves while growing up in a busy city.

Americans also consider city dwellers ruder than those who live in the country. When asked, 70% of respondents agreed with the statement “people who live in or around cities are ruder than people who live in rural areas.”

Below is a list of the top 14 rudest cities in America according to their residents.

  1. Philadelphia, PA
  2. Memphis, TN
  3. New York City, NY
  4. Las Vegas, NV
  5. Boston, MA
  6. Detroit, MI
  7. San Francisco, CA
  8. Washington, D.C.
  9. Los Angeles, CA
  10. Houston, TX
  11. Phoenix, AZ
  12. Jacksonville, FL
  13. Seattle, WA
  14. Louisville, KY

Image Credit: Preply

The Most Polite U.S. Cities

Other cities scored low when it comes to rudeness, indicating a culture of general politeness. The most polite cities on the list include Austin, TX (3.91), San Diego, CA (4.17), and Fort Worth, TX (4.20). More polite cities seem to be concentrated in the southern, midwestern, and western parts of the United States, with a noticeable lack of Northeastern cities.

From Preply[‘s results, it seems that Austinites enjoy a laid-back, friendly city atmosphere, even as the city continues to grow rapidly. In general, the state of Texas has a reputation for politeness and friendliness, along with the rest of the South, underscoring the stereotype of Southern hospitality. It makes sense that five of the most polite U.S. cities are concentrated in the Lone Star state.

  1. Austin, TX
  2. San Diego, CA
  3. Fort Worth, TX
  4. Nashville, TN
  5. Indianapolis, IN
  6. Chicago, IL
  7. Columbus, OH
  8. Oklahoma City, OK
  9. Milwaukee, WI
  10. Denver, CO
  11. San Jose, CA
  12. Portland, OR
  13. El Paso, TX
  14. San Antonio, TX
  15. Dallas, TX/Charlotte/NC

Image Credit: Preply

The most common rude behaviors in the U.S.

  1. Being absorbed by phone in public: New York City, NY
  2. Not letting people merge in traffic: Memphis, TN
  3. Not slowing down around pedestrians: Boston, MA
  4. Being noisy in public: Memphis, TN
  5. Not acknowledging strangers: Boston, MA
  6. Watching videos in public: Memphis, TN
  7. Talking on speaker in public: Philadelphia, PA
  8. Closed off body language: New York City, NY
  9. Not respecting personal space: Memphis, TN
  10. Being rude to service staff: Memphis, TN

Who shows the most rudeness: locals or non-locals?

Preply also asked respondents to rank who is ruder in their experience: people born and raised in their city — otherwise known as “locals” — or non-locals who have moved there later in life. Overall, 55% ranked non-locals as ruder than locals across all cities, but the results varied widely by city.

The top cities with ruder “locals” included Philadelphia, Boston, Memphis, Detroit, and New York City. This means residents born and raised in these cities have grown up accustomed to certain behaviors, which likely originated from the city’s culture itself.

Below is the full list of cities with ruder locals, ranked from rudest to least rude: 

  1. Philadelphia, PA
  2. Boston, MA
  3. Memphis, TN
  4. Detroit, MI
  5. New York City, NY
  6. Columbus, OH
  7. Louisville, KY
  8. Chicago, IL
  9. San Francisco, CA
  10. Houston, TX
  11. Jacksonville, FL

On the other hand, the five cities where non-locals are ruder include Charlotte, Nashville, Phoenix, Austin, and Portland. Given that these are fast-growing cities, it’s common that many people who live in the city were not born and raised there. Current residents of these cities view the newcomers as rude, not the culture of the city itself.

Below is the full list of cities with ruder non-locals, ranked from rudest to least rude: 

  1. Charlotte, NC
  2. Nashville, TN
  3. Phoenix, AZ
  4. Austin, TX
  5. Portland, OR
  6. San Diego, CA
  7. Denver, CO
  8. Las Vegas, NV
  9. Fort Worth, TX
  10. Washington D.C.
  11. San Antonio, TX
  12. Seattle, WA
  13. San Jose, CA
  14. El Paso, TX
  15. Los Angeles, CA
  16. Dallas, TX
  17. Milwaukee, WI
  18. Indianapolis, IN
  19. Oklahoma City, OK

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