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Which US cities have the best and worst air quality? 

See how well you can breathe easy where you live.

COVID-19 has set in motion a range of changes in how we live, with millions asked to shelter in place nationwide. An unintended consequence is a decrease in air pollution and an increase in air quality in many major cities.

It got us thinking: Which US cities have the best and worst air quality? To find out, we reviewed the US Environmental Protection Agency’s annual Air Quality Index (AQI) report, which measures the air quality of a given city based on a range of metrics that you can find in our methodology at the end of the article.

Breathe on, breather: Which city has the cleanest air in America?

Dum spiro spero — “While I breathe, I hope” — is the state motto for South Carolina. And a fitting one at that, as Seneca, South Carolina, comes in with the cleanest air in the country. Located in the northwestern corner of the state, the city has not only a median annual AQI of 0, but also a maximum AQI of 0 over the past year.

In fact, 8 of the top 10 cities with the best air quality scored an annual median AQI of 0. Out of the top 10 cities, two states landed multiple entries, with both Ohio and Oklahoma contributing two cities in the top 10 for best air quality.

Cities with the cleanest air in the USA

RankMetro areaAQI medianAQI 90th percentileAQI maximum
1Seneca, SC000
2College Station-Bryan, TX011
3Ashtabula, OH016
4Muskogee, OK016
5Ottawa-Peru, IL016
6Enid, OK0639
7Washington, NC0834
8Hilo, HI01430
9Cumberland, MD-WV149
10Salem, OH11031

Which city has the worst air quality in the US?

If you were to think about a city in the US, you’d be excused if your mind immediately conjured images of a clogged and smog-filled street in Los Angeles. And while LA cracks the top five cities with the worst air quality in the US, it’s actually another Californian city that takes the top spot: Merced, in California’s Central Valley, has the worst air quality in the United States with a median AQI of 69.

The Golden State is home to 50% of the cities on the list, with 5 out of the top 10 cities with the worst air quality in America located in California.

Cities with the worst air quality

RankMetro areaAQI medianAQI 90th percentileAQI maximum
1Merced, CA698587
2Bakersfield, CA6885106
3Missoula, MT6380105
4Anchorage, AK598787
5Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA5499185
6El Centro, CA5290114
7Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA526062
8St. Louis, MO-IL516472
9Madera, CA506060
10Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN486267

Most improved air in America

Forget participation ribbons. We’re giving out As for effort.

As far as those cities doing their darndest to improve their air quality, it’s a three-way tie for the top spot — all three seeing a 100% decrease in their AQI from the previous year.

Washington, North Carolina, saw the largest shift, with its median AQI dropping from 48 to 0. The city with the cleanest air in America — Seneca, South Carolina — saw its AQI drop from 43 to 0, while Ashtabula, Ohio, fell from 38 to 0.

Cities with the most improved air quality

RankMetro areaChange in AQI from last year% changeAQI median 2020
1Washington, NC48-100.00%0
2Seneca, SC43-100.00%0
3Ashtabula, OH38-100.00%0
4Asheville, NC36-78.26%10
5San Diego-Carlsbad, CA34-64.42%18.5
6Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA33-44.59%41
7Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH31-58.49%22
8Greenville, NC31-64.58%17
9Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol, TN-VA30-61.22%19
10Payson, AZ28-41.79%39

How has COVID-19 affected air quality in America?

One of the cruel ironies of a virus that makes it harder to breathe is that it’s contributed to making the air in our major cities easier to breathe. In fact, as of the end of April 2020, about 72% of the US population — about 237 million people — are under some kind of stay-at-home order due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Business Insider.

As a result of closures and other contributing factors, demand for energy in the first three months of 2020 was down 6% when compared to the same period in 2019, according to the International Energy Agency. All of these changes in lifestyle have contributed to a 9% drop in CO2 emissions in the United States.

Here’s how the air quality in 10 major US cities looked in the first three months of 2020 compared to their average AQI over the previous five years, from 2015 to 2019.

How is the air quality in your city?

For the air quality stats near you, search our table of the AQI rank for 480 cities around the country.

Ranking of metropolitan area by air quality

RankMetro areaAQI maximumAQI 90th percentileAQI median% changeDifference from last year
1Seneca, SC000-100.00%43
2College Station-Bryan, TX110N/A0
3Ashtabula, OH610-100.00%38
4Muskogee, OK610-100.00%12
5Ottawa-Peru, IL610N/A0
6Enid, OK3960N/A0
7Washington, NC3480-100.00%48
8Hilo, HI30140-100.00%18
9Cumberland, MD-WV941-92.86%13
10Salem, OH311010.00%0
11Point Pleasant, WV-OH4630.54-55.56%5
12Lake Havasu City-Kingman, AZ26167-53.33%8
13Steamboat Springs, CO29187-41.67%5
14Carson City, CO997.5-31.82%3.5
15Othello, WA27168-33.33%4
16Twin Falls, ID21158.5-52.78%9.5
17Pullman, WA24169-47.06%8
18Portsmouth, OH45319.5-32.14%4.5
19Asheville, NC553010-78.26%36
20Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WA181711N/A-11
21Mason City, IA451911-26.67%4
22Bozeman, MT412611-45.00%9
23Bremerton-Silverdale, WA211812-20.00%3
24Olympia-Tumwater, WA392312-58.62%17
25Longview, WA352412-7.69%1
26Lewiston, ID-WA974812-63.64%21
27Pocatello, ID584412-50.00%12
28Monroe, MI2622131200.00%-12
29Centralia, WA332213-27.78%5
30Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA612713-62.86%22
31Coeur d’Alene, ID2822.813-38.10%8
32Hailey, ID482213-7.14%1
33Juneau, AK4829.913-48.00%12
34Moscow, ID28231362.50%-5
35Gardnerville Ranchos, NV553313.535.00%-3.5
36Augusta-Waterville, ME222214-57.58%19
37Walla Walla, WA553814-39.13%9
38Paducah, KY-IL181815-62.50%25
39Pueblo, CO332415-21.05%4
40Grand Island, NE532715-34.78%8
41Eagle Pass, TX463715-46.43%13
42Bend-Redmond, OR3325.215-25.00%5
43Lubbock, TX552715-40.00%10
44Lynchburg, VA544215.5-40.38%10.5
45Moses Lake, WA533016-11.11%2
46Greensboro-High Point, NC4832.516-63.64%28
47Pierre, SD53281614.29%-2
48Wheeling, WV-OH6126.516.5-52.86%18.5
49Wilmington, NC663116.5-56.58%21.5
50Shelton, WA403017-15.00%3
51Greenville, NC3831.517-64.58%31
52Kennewick-Richland, WA544317-55.26%21
53Bellingham, WA1147217-51.43%18
54Coos Bay, OR482817-10.53%2
55Corvallis, OR523017-15.00%3
56La Grande, OR462717-29.17%7
57Lawrenceburg, TN583217-32.00%8
58Athens, TN583617.5-60.23%26.5
59Douglas, GA252518-30.77%8
60Great Falls, MT623618-10.00%2
61Butte-Silver Bow, MT624318-5.26%1
62Cookeville, TN563418-21.74%5
63Hermiston-Pendleton, OR664318-52.63%20
64Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, HI56261828.57%-4
65San Diego-Carlsbad, CA202018.5-64.42%33.5
66Athens, OH464618.5-31.48%8.5
67Rocky Mount, NC473219-53.66%22
68Kingsville, TX563819-45.71%16
69Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol, TN-VA4341.519-61.22%30
70Bay City, MI554019-24.00%6
71Durham-Chapel Hill, NC433519.5-56.67%25.5
72Fort Smith, AR-OK783220-47.37%18
73Fayetteville, NC524020-56.52%26
74Taos, NM64422011.11%-2
75Columbus, GA-AL773820.5-53.41%23.5
76Aberdeen, WA40302116.67%-3
77Springfield, OH6043.521-54.35%25
78Winchester, VA-WV584921-44.74%17
79Dyersburg, TN6238.921-19.23%5
80Odessa, TX433321-30.00%9
81Salem, OR754121-36.36%12
82Harrisonburg, VA5547.521.5-44.87%17.5
83Lewiston-Auburn, ME6452.521.5-34.85%11.5
84Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC373122-45.00%18
85Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH463522-58.49%31
86Roanoke Rapids, NC543922-38.89%14
87Jackson, TN5835.322-8.33%2
88Prineville, OR61432229.41%-5
89Hot Springs, AR654123-37.84%14
90Winston-Salem, NC565123-48.89%22
91Macon, GA523524-40.00%16
92Somerset, KY5242.524-35.14%13
93Billings, MT66532460.00%-9
94Fairbanks, AK4437.424-38.46%15
95Charlottesville, VA6340.525-37.50%15
96Lawton, OK554325-43.18%19
97Lexington-Fayette, KY554425-37.50%15
98Roanoke, VA614725-26.47%9
99Aberdeen, SD6048254.17%-1
100Watertown, SD623925-28.57%10
101Brunswick, GA413526-27.78%10
102Richmond, VA534226-39.53%17
103Gainesville, GA564526.5-30.26%11.5
104Elizabethtown-Fort Knox, KY544127-18.18%6
105Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC654127-35.71%15
106Tucson, AZ1034427-44.90%22
107Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC6351.527-38.64%17
108Bemidji, MN73412712.50%-3
109Ponca City, OK554527.5-31.25%12.5
110Lima, OH564527.5-32.93%13.5
111Toledo, OH625327.5-34.52%14.5
112Ogdensburg-Massena, NY1108827.561.76%-10.5
113El Dorado, AR524128-20.00%7
114Utica-Rome, NY5643.5283.70%-1
115Athens-Clarke County, GA544628-26.32%10
116New Castle, IN6351.528-3.45%1
117Sandpoint, ID594328100.00%-14
118Valdosta, GA595129-21.62%8
119Eureka-Arcata-Fortuna, CA3734.729-3.33%1
120Waco, TX463829.5-18.06%6.5
121Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA674929.5-32.95%14.5
122Jamestown-Dunkirk-Fredonia, NY513930-25.00%10
123Rome, GA5546.530-34.78%16
124Akron, OH665430-31.82%14
125Albany, OR675530-23.08%9
126Grants Pass, OR895730-16.67%6
127Savannah, GA584930.5-23.75%9.5
128New Castle, PA423830.5-4.69%1.5
129Minot, ND4535310.00%0
130Bowling Green, KY613731-26.19%11
131Monroe, LA503931-13.89%5
132Shreveport-Bossier City, LA674131-20.51%8
133Tupelo, MS484331-22.50%9
134Warner Robins, GA604331-27.91%12
135Muncie, IN654331-16.22%6
136Corning, NY604531-16.22%6
137Middlesborough, KY545431-22.50%9
138Hattiesburg, MS715431-11.43%4
139Arkadelphia, AR484231-6.06%2
140Huntington, IN313131-27.91%12
141Longview, TX514231-16.22%6
142Seymour, IN313131-16.22%6
143Springfield, MO614531-26.19%11
144Texarkana, TX-AR8650.631-3.13%1
145Dickinson, ND3936.531.5-12.50%4.5
146Duluth, MN-WI463832-11.11%4
147Kalispell, MT624032-15.79%6
148Ardmore, OK544332-27.27%12
149Evansville, IN-KY594332-27.27%12
150Springfield, IL554532-23.81%10
151Sioux City, IA-NE-SD504632-15.79%6
152Bloomington, IN524832-23.81%10
153Jasper, IN565132700.00%-28
154Albany, GA685332-27.27%12
155Rockford, IL7557.532-25.58%11
156Nogales, AZ165643210.34%-3
157Clarksville, TN-KY7065.532-23.81%10
158DuBois, PA444032-13.51%5
159Urban Honolulu, HI583832-5.88%2
160Vincennes, IN504432-17.95%7
161Columbus, IN564032.5-24.42%10.5
162Weirton-Steubenville, WV-OH775932.5-32.29%15.5
163Marshall, MN644332.5-12.16%4.5
164Wabash, IN494232.5-18.75%7.5
165Victoria, TX4439330.00%0
166Meridian, MS503933-10.81%4
167Bishop, CA494133-31.25%15
168Fargo, ND-MN554133-8.33%3
169Laredo, TX524233-25.00%11
170Florence, SC634233-13.16%5
171Bartlesville, OK464333-15.38%6
172Harrison, AR494333-10.81%4
173San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA564433-25.00%11
174Lafayette, LA1204433-21.43%9
175McAlester, OK544533-25.00%11
176Elkhart-Goshen, IN574733-13.16%5
177Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV744833-19.51%8
178Terre Haute, IN604933-25.00%11
179Port Angeles, WA595033-10.81%4
180Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA645133-17.50%7
181Chattanooga, TN-GA645233-29.79%14
182Columbus, OH655233-29.79%14
183Raleigh, NC725233-31.25%15
184Hanford-Corcoran, CA905333-32.65%16
185Atlantic City-Hammonton, NJ524033-17.50%7
186Brainerd, MN7642333.13%-1
187Chambersburg-Waynesboro, PA444033-15.38%6
188Klamath Falls, OR7358330.00%0
189Manitowoc, WI5042.433-10.81%4
190Medford, OR645233-5.71%2
191Sioux Falls, SD724233-21.43%9
192Tyler, TX514333-10.81%4
193Washington Court House, OH584433-15.38%6
194Williamsport, PA444033-10.81%4
195Williston, ND3433.833-13.16%5
196Greeley, CO464233.5-25.56%11.5
197Kokomo, IN625233.5-20.24%8.5
198Santa Rosa, CA604133.5-4.29%1.5
199Cambridge, MD474034209.09%-23
200McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX454234-24.44%11
201Killeen-Temple, TX564334-20.93%9
202Michigan City-La Porte, IN594334-15.00%6
203Dover, DE6044.534-20.93%9
204Bismarck, ND2984734-12.82%5
205Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA544834-38.18%21
206Spartanburg, SC615134-26.09%12
207Fort Madison-Keokuk, IA-IL-MO60523417.24%-5
208Champaign-Urbana, IL5652.534-22.73%10
209Cleveland, MS635334-30.61%15
210Columbia, SC655334-24.44%11
211Ellensburg, WA64623461.90%-13
212Effingham, IL4338.434-19.05%8
213Erie, PA6445.434-8.11%3
214Hobbs, NM504534-27.66%13
215Marshall, TX844534-10.53%4
216Parkersburg-Vienna, WV464234-10.53%4
217Salinas, CA454034-5.56%2
218Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA543934-2.86%1
219Wichita, KS1134634-17.07%7
220Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR635134.5-23.33%10.5
221Peoria, IL675534.5-19.77%8.5
222Corpus Christi, TX453835-23.91%11
223Show Low, AZ444135-22.22%10
224Salisbury, MD-DE5943.535-18.60%8
225San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA454435-14.63%6
226Cedar City, UT484435-18.60%8
227Bangor, ME7344356.06%-2
228Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY574535-12.50%5
229Tulsa, OK5747.535-25.53%12
230Austin-Round Rock, TX594935-22.22%10
231South Bend-Mishawaka, IN-MI585035-20.45%9
232Wenatchee, WA55513575.00%-15
233Memphis, TN-MS-AR795235-23.91%11
234Canton-Massillon, OH655635218.18%-24
235Corsicana, TX8050.235-16.67%7
236Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, FL5446.735-5.41%2
237East Stroudsburg, PA494235-7.89%3
238Flint, MI544435-16.67%7
239Fort Payne, AL514535-10.26%4
240Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI564435-14.63%6
241Homosassa Springs, FL12553356.06%-2
242Ithaca, NY474235-5.41%2
243Kalamazoo-Portage, MI534435-14.63%6
244Lansing-East Lansing, MI534235-7.89%3
245Lincoln, NE4543.9350.00%0
246Somerset, PA504435-10.26%4
247Watertown-Fort Drum, NY4842350.00%0
248Barnstable Town, MA474035.5-8.97%3.5
249Mount Vernon, IL615435.5-19.32%8.5
250Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY736035.5-19.32%8.5
251Chico, CA626135.5-11.25%4.5
252Visalia-Porterville, CA1117235.5-36.61%20.5
253Charleston, WV614735.5-11.25%4.5
254Lebanon, PA6160.335.5-17.44%7.5
255Glenwood Springs, CO474236-16.28%7
256Knoxville, TN614236-21.74%10
257Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV584536-7.69%3
258Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO634536-21.74%10
259Houma-Thibodaux, LA854636-16.28%7
260Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA645236-14.29%6
261Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN625436-23.40%11
262Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA685536-18.18%8
263Pittsfield, MA8057.536-10.00%4
264Syracuse, NY716136-7.69%3
265Columbia, MO9343.736-14.29%6
266Indiana, PA514436-12.20%5
267Johnstown, PA895536-7.69%3
268Napa, CA6045362.86%-1
269Niles-Benton Harbor, MI474436-7.69%3
270Reading, PA794536-16.28%7
271Red Bluff, CA544336-2.70%1
272Summerville, GA484536-10.00%4
273Fond du Lac, WI454236.5-3.95%1.5
274Huntsville, AL6248.136.5-17.05%7.5
275Janesville-Beloit, WI4643.936.5-8.75%3.5
276Red Wing, MN484336.5-13.10%5.5
277Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA454037-11.90%5
278Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD8249.537-21.28%10
279Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC585137-26.00%13
280Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, SC715237-15.91%7
281Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD765237-22.92%11
282Oklahoma City, OK655437-24.49%12
283Muscatine, IA74543715.63%-5
284Rochester, NY655537-5.13%2
285Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, MS675537-15.91%7
286Adrian, MI685537-7.50%3
287Amarillo, TX644937-17.78%8
288Ann Arbor, MI675437-5.13%2
289Brookings, SD584437-21.28%10
290Claremont-Lebanon, NH-VT5743372.78%-1
291Daphne-Fairhope-Foley, AL544537-7.50%3
292Gillette, WY484337-5.13%2
293Green Bay, WI795637-2.63%1
294Holland, MI474437-7.50%3
295Jefferson City, MO874437-13.95%6
296Keene, NH664537-2.63%1
297Morehead City, NC544437-15.91%7
298Muskegon, MI474337-7.50%3
299Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN635137-17.78%8
300Owensboro, KY615237-5.13%2
301Racine, WI454337-11.90%5
302Rochester, MN805337-7.50%3
303Sonora, CA504437-5.13%2
304Traverse City, MI474337-5.13%2
305Tuscaloosa, AL5144375.71%-2
306Whitewater-Elkhorn, WI464437-7.50%3
307Watertown-Fort Atkinson, WI474437.5-6.25%2.5
308Vineyard Haven, MA4841.538-9.52%4
309Durango, CO444338-17.39%8
310Sierra Vista-Douglas, AZ564338-19.15%9
311Grand Junction, CO494438-17.39%8
312Boulder, CO584438-22.45%11
313Brownsville-Harlingen, TX594538-20.83%10
314Charleston-North Charleston, SC564738-13.64%6
315Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC645438-20.83%10
316Worcester, MA-CT635538-11.63%5
317Fort Wayne, IN645538-15.56%7
318Lake Charles, LA685638-17.39%8
319Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA865638-7.32%3
320Cedar Rapids, IA815938-2.56%1
321Altoona, PA855238-9.52%4
322Appleton, WI8356380.00%0
323Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford, VA5847382.70%-1
324Cadillac, MI665238245.45%-27
325Cheyenne, WY514438-11.63%5
326Eau Claire, WI7951382.70%-1
327Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA985438-15.56%7
328La Crosse-Onalaska, WI-MN7956.4380.00%0
329Ludington, MI4843380.00%0
330Morristown, TN514638-13.64%6
331Mount Vernon, OH61443865.22%-15
332Norwich-New London, CT694738-2.56%1
333Sayre, PA734838-2.56%1
334Torrington, CT524438-5.00%2
335Trenton, NJ725038-9.52%4
336Vineland-Bridgeton, NJ684638-7.32%3
337Wilmington, OH644438-13.64%6
338Sevierville, TN4643.538.5-14.44%6.5
339Baton Rouge, LA1055038.5-14.44%6.5
340Decatur, IL6154.538.5-12.50%5.5
341Morgantown, WV504438.5-1.28%0.5
342Platteville, WI825938.532.76%-9.5
343Carlsbad-Artesia, NM444339254.55%-28
344St. George, UT504439-15.22%7
345Provo-Orem, UT594439-17.02%8
346Redding, CA844439-9.30%4
347Truckee-Grass Valley, CA644739-13.33%6
348Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH675339-11.36%5
349Helena, MT605439-9.30%4
350Bloomington, IL645439-13.33%6
351Payson, AZ1105539-41.79%28
352Clinton, IA715939-9.30%4
353Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ9154.139-7.14%3
354Americus, GA6446.239-2.50%1
355Bennington, VT6646390.00%0
356Concord, NH49443918.18%-6
357Fernley, NV5045390.00%0
358Gadsden, AL484439-9.30%4
359Manchester-Nashua, NH514539-4.88%2
360Marietta, OH504539-7.14%3
361Quincy, IL-MO584639-11.36%5
362Rutland, VT8157390.00%0
363Scranton–Wilkes-Barre–Hazleton, PA694739-2.50%1
364Sebring, FL6446.9392.63%-1
365Sheboygan, WI5044390.00%0
366State College, PA885139-11.36%5
367Topeka, KS1696039-9.30%4
368Vallejo-Fairfield, CA7755390.00%0
369York-Hanover, PA965739-4.88%2
370Joplin, MO484639.5-3.66%1.5
371Lake City, FL10054.139.5-5.95%2.5
372Idaho Falls, ID514440-6.98%3
373Price, UT484540-14.89%7
374Colorado Springs, CO504540-16.67%8
375Farmington, NM514540-18.37%9
376Prescott, AZ504640-9.09%4
377Yuma, AZ944940-13.04%6
378Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA605040-11.11%5
379Iowa City, IA89574017.65%-6
380New Orleans-Metairie, LA846140-13.04%6
381Greenfield Town, MA8464402.56%-1
382Logan, UT-ID1257240-13.04%6
383Baraboo, WI6554408.11%-3
384Beaver Dam, WI735440-4.76%2
385Berlin, NH-VT4844400.00%0
386Dalton, GA584840-9.09%4
387Decatur, AL665440-2.44%1
388Gettysburg, PA785440-6.98%3
389Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT825440-6.98%3
390Kinston, NC584840-6.98%3
391Laconia, NH4844405.26%-2
392Madison, WI7558.340-2.44%1
393Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, FL8051.8402.56%-1
394Oxford, NC514740-9.09%4
395Panama City, FL7154400.00%0
396Rapid City, SD494740-11.11%5
397San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA765540-6.98%3
398Sheridan, WY644640-4.76%2
399Wausau, WI4845.94011.11%-4
400El Paso, TX665840.5-28.95%16.5
401Springfield, MA996040.5-5.81%2.5
402Jackson, WY-ID544441-6.82%3
403Reno, NV585041-12.77%6
404Ogden-Clearfield, UT805141-12.77%6
405Vernal, UT715441-18.00%9
406Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA2075441-44.59%33
407Portland-South Portland, ME7055410.00%0
408Dayton, OH675741-12.77%6
409Jackson, MS855941-4.65%2
410San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX1066041-18.00%9
411Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX8358.341-14.58%7
412Boise City, ID7656410.00%0
413Burlington-South Burlington, VT9852412.50%-1
414Casper, WY5845.141272.73%-30
415Fallon, NV644641-2.38%1
416Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL7455412.50%-1
417Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL875241-2.38%1
418Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL7754417.89%-3
419Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, FL695441-2.38%1
420Port St. Lucie, FL8451412.50%-1
421Sebastian-Vero Beach, FL8748.64110.81%-4
422Stockton-Lodi, CA97704113.89%-5
423Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI7560.341.5-5.68%2.5
424Flagstaff, AZ504642-8.70%4
425Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN716142-19.23%10
426Salt Lake City, UT1386642-17.65%9
427Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL8750.842281.82%-31
428Carson City, NV584842281.82%-31
429Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL7153.4427.69%-3
430Lancaster, PA1056042-8.70%4
431Mobile, AL6751420.00%0
432New Haven-Milford, CT8456.1422.44%-1
433Ocala, FL10055420.00%0
434Santa Fe, NM715042.5-9.57%4.5
435New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA776143-17.31%9
436Yuba City, CA95854316.22%-6
437Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT8358430.00%0
438Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI7459437.50%-3
439North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL7654.4432.38%-1
440Tallahassee, FL765943-2.27%1
441Fort Collins, CO584844-13.73%7
442Providence-Warwick, RI-MA7157440.00%0
443Lafayette-West Lafayette, IN6960444.76%-2
444Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI776444-18.52%10
445Modesto, CA74744415.79%-6
446Birmingham-Hoover, AL896144-2.22%1
447Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI746044-18.52%10
448Evanston, WY8448440.00%0
449Las Cruces, NM1005444-18.52%10
450Montgomery, AL16161.444-13.73%7
451Riverton, WY774844-6.38%3
452Rock Springs, WY9049442.33%-1
453Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ1106744.5-33.58%22.5
454Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO936045-29.69%19
455Albuquerque, NM675445-16.67%9
456Espa¤ola, NM5850450.00%0
457Jacksonville, FL845845-2.17%1
458Kansas City, MO-KS1196145-4.26%2
459Laramie, WY7450.145-8.16%4
460Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL93604521.62%-8
461Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL1085945-2.17%1
462Yakima, WA90754631.43%-11
463Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX9764.246-6.12%3
464Pittsburgh, PA1027146-17.86%10
465Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL1006246.51.09%-0.5
466Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA897746.5-3.13%1.5
467Fresno, CA1188146.5-8.82%4.5
468Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX15272.246.5-12.26%6.5
469Cleveland-Elyria, OH826047-4.08%2
470Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV1577047-9.62%5
471Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN676248-11.11%6
472Madera, CA60605072.41%-21
473St. Louis, MO-IL726451-5.56%3
474Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA62605223.81%-10
475El Centro, CA11490528.33%-4
476Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA1859954-6.90%4
477Anchorage, AK87875990.32%-28
478Missoula, MT105806357.50%-23
479Bakersfield, CA106856854.55%-24
480Merced, CA878569130.00%-39

Source: Finder rankings / Air Quality Index Report by the United States Environmental Protection Agency

Does the air quality of your area affect insurance rates?

Not directly — but your location can affect the premium you pay for life or health insurance.

Life insurance

Where you live doesn’t affect the cost of your policy. This means that you won’t be charged a higher premium just for residing in Merced, California — the city with the poorest air quality in the US.

However, if you develop chronic asthma due to the air quality in your area, you may end up with more expensive premiums. Life insurance companies consider pre-existing conditions as part of the underwriting process, and may hike up the price based on your diagnosis or the severity of your symptoms.

The same goes for any other health issues you may have contracted as a result of breathing in poor air — like bronchitis, emphysema and a loss of lung capacity.

Health insurance

Your geographic location has a huge impact on your health insurance premiums — but air quality doesn’t count.

Instead, the difference in rates comes down to the cost of living, as well as the county and landscape you live in. If your county has a lot of insurers competing for your business, your premiums will likely be lower. And if you live in an urban area, you’ll probably pay less than a rural policyholder.


For media inquiries:

Allan Givens headshot

Allan Givens
Public Relations Manager

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Nicole Gallina
Communications Coordinator

Picture: Getty

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