As explained by Business Insider, it’s sometimes been said that there are over eight million rats in the city (the same as the human population), but David E. Davis’ “The Rat Population Of New York, 1949” (via Oxford Academic/American Journal Of Epidemiology) deemed this number an example of the “absurd estimates … [which] have become commonplace.” A 2014 study, per Business Insider, put the total at around two million.
This number, reportedly, was the result of researchers monitoring areas where rats are sighted and drawing conclusions based on what is suspected about the distinct and highly territorial groups. However many there are exactly, though, rats are a part of big city life. The rats that are dominant in NYC are brown rats, Rattus norvegicus. Though they don’t tend to spread disease between each other, though, the potential for passing on diseases such as the bubonic plague remains.
As these critters are so secretive and can thrive underground, there’s no telling for sure just how many of them live in New York City. As Business Insider concludes, though, it’s humanity that has created the perfect conditions for them to thrive, and they’ll never be far away from us.