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 to find the rudest cities in the U.S. and Phoenix ranks in the Top 15 rudest cities in the U.S.

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• Phoenix ranked as the 11th rudest city in America with an average rudeness score of 5.22 (on a scale of 1-10).

• The behaviors Phoenix residents were most bothered by were people being totally absorbed by your phone and not letting others merge in front.

• Phoenix residents were asked to rank who is more rude in their experience, natives or transplants. By a wide-margin, Phoenix residents said transplants were more rude than natives (74% vs. 26%).

• Phoenix ranked #3 in cities with rudest transplants.

We 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, PennsylvaniaMemphis, 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. We 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.

This apparent rudeness may be the case in many larger cities. When we consider a behavior rude, it’s likely because it’s either confrontational or inconsiderate toward others. However, in major metropolitan cities, where we interact with many more people on a daily basis, what appears to be confrontation or insensitivity may be a form of self-preservation.

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.”

The most polite U.S. cities, according to residents

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 our 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.

The most common rude behaviors in the U.S.

Since levels of rudeness fluctuate regionally, we wanted to know which common rude behaviors respondents most often witness in their cities. According to our results, the rude behaviors you’re most likely to encounter in the U.S. involve two themes: problematic driving and being disrespectful of shared spaces. 

The most common rude behavior in the US is people being absorbed by their phones in public, especially in New York City. In Memphis, be prepared to have difficulty merging into traffic and brace yourself for city residents who are likely to be quite noisy in public. In Boston, you’re likely to encounter cars not slowing down around pedestrians and residents not acknowledging strangers.

Here is the full list of the most common rude behaviors in the U.Sand the city most likely to exhibit them:

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