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Which US cities have the best and worst air quality? 

See how well you can breathe easy where you live.

Air pollution is a major issue around the globe and is responsible for roughly seven million deaths a year, according to WHO.

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?

Washington, North 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 19 over the past year.

In fact, 4 of the top 10 cities with the best air quality scored an annual median AQI of 0. Out of the top 10 cities, Ohio landed multiple entries, with Ohio contributing four cities in the top 10 for best air quality.

Cities with the cleanest air in the USA

RankMetro AreaAQI MedianAQI 90th PercentileAQI Maximum
1 Washington, NC 0 3 19
2 Salem, OH 0 8 28
3 Enid, OK 0 13 64
4 Borger, TX 0 34 102
5 Ottawa-Peru, IL 1 3 7
6 Findlay, OH 1 9 34
7 Richmond, VA 2 2 2
8 Point Pleasant, WV-OH 3 17 87
9 Cambridge, OH 3 26 59
10 Morgantown, WV 3 44 67

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 city that takes the top spot: Phoenix, Arizona; it has the worst air quality in the United States with a median AQI of 166, 80% higher than the runner up Bakersfield, CA.

The West Coast is home to 70% of the cities on the list, with 7 out of the top 10 cities with the worst air quality in America located on the West Coast.

Cities with the worst air quality

RankMetro AreaAQI MedianAQI 90th PercentileAQI Maximum
1 Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ 166 217 272
2 Bakersfield, CA 92 143 152
3 Missoula, MT 65 91 104
4 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 64 115 176
5 Yakima, WA 62 72 87
6 Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI 59 74 104
7 Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA 57 68 80
8 Cleveland-Elyria, OH 56 80 96
9 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 56 78 108
10 San Diego-Carlsbad, CA 55 86 126

Most improved air in America

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

Although California has the most cities with the worst air quality, it also has the most cities with the most improved air quality. 6 out of the top 10 cities with the most improved air quality in America are located in California.

Riverside, California, saw the largest shift, with its median AQI dropping from 98 to 44, followed by Visalia, CA which dropped from 78 last year to 33 so far in 2021.

Cities with the most improved air quality

RankMetro AreaChange in AQI from last year% changeAQI median, 2021
1 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA -54 -55.10% 44
2 Visalia-Porterville, CA -45 -57.70% 33
3 Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI -41 -82.00% 9
4 Red Bluff, CA -39 -90.70% 4
5 Fresno, CA -37 -50.00% 37
6 Richmond, VA -36 -94.70% 2
7 Vallejo-Fairfield, CA -36 -87.80% 5
8 Rock Springs, WY -36 -78.30% 10
9 Merced, CA -35 -66.00% 18
10 Marietta, OH -34 -89.50% 4

How has COVID-19 affected air quality in America?

Here’s how the air quality in 5 major US cities looked in the 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 395 cities around the country.

Ranking of metropolitan area by air quality

RankMetro AreaAQI MedianAQI 90th PercentileAQI Maximum% changeDifference from last year
1 Washington, NC 0 3 19 N/A – 2020 AQI was zero 0
2 Salem, OH 0 8 28 -100.00% -1
3 Enid, OK 0 13 64 N/A – 2020 AQI was zero 0
4 Borger, TX 0 34 102 -100.00% -16
5 Ottawa-Peru, IL 1 3 7 N/A – 2020 AQI was zero 1
6 Findlay, OH 1 9 34 N/A – 2020 AQI was zero 1
7 Richmond, VA 2 2 2 -94.70% -36
8 Point Pleasant, WV-OH 3 17 87 -70.00% -7
9 Cambridge, OH 3 26 59 0.00% 0
10 Morgantown, WV 3 44 67 -90.90% -30
11 Red Bluff, CA 4 4 4 -90.70% -39
12 Marietta, OH 4 24 29 -89.50% -34
13 Parkersburg-Vienna, WV 4 40 49 -87.50% -28
14 Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI 5 9 14 -86.10% -31
15 Vallejo-Fairfield, CA 5 10 10 -87.80% -36
16 Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC 6 6 6 -82.40% -28
17 Ashtabula, OH 7 9 11 -77.40% -24
18 Hilo, HI 8 92 178 -55.60% -10
19 Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI 9 13 23 -82.00% -41
20 Ca¤on City, CO 9 19 19 -18.20% -2
21 Warren, PA 10 39 139 11.10% 1
22 Rock Springs, WY 10 40 83 -78.30% -36
23 Joplin, MO 10 54 69 -71.40% -25
24 Great Falls, MT 12 18 28 -33.30% -6
25 Lake Havasu City-Kingman, AZ 12 22 46 -33.30% -6
26 Roanoke Rapids, NC 12 30 50 -45.50% -10
27 Portsmouth, OH 12 51 57 -14.30% -2
28 Lubbock, TX 13 33 66 -35.00% -7
29 Hailey, ID 14 23 43 -6.70% -1
30 Othello, WA 14 29 32 7.70% 1
31 Steamboat Springs, CO 14 32 51 0.00% 0
32 Juneau, AK 14 39 88 0.00% 0
33 Pullman, WA 15 28 45 0.00% 0
34 Deming, NM 15 33 102 -21.10% -4
35 Scottsbluff, NE 15 38 58 -44.40% -12
36 Lewiston, ID-WA 15 65 94 -50.00% -15
37 Mason City, IA 16 24 31 -11.10% -2
38 Monroe, MI 16 31 51 1500.00% 15
39 Bellingham, WA 16 38 51 -44.80% -13
40 Pueblo, CO 16 40 49 -15.80% -3
41 Springfield, MO 16 43 63 -56.80% -21
42 Ogdensburg-Massena, NY 17 90 116 21.40% 3
43 Merced, CA 18 18 18 -66.00% -35
44 Coeur d’Alene, ID 18 39 56 -5.30% -1
45 Twin Falls, ID 19 31 45 5.60% 1
46 Aberdeen, SD 19 31 88 -17.40% -4
47 Olympia-Tumwater, WA 19 48 58 -24.00% -6
48 Bozeman, MT 20 38 54 -9.10% -2
49 Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WA 20 46 48 25.00% 4
50 Butte-Silver Bow, MT 20 50 77 5.30% 1
51 Bemidji, MN 21 38 78 -10.90% -3
52 Athens, OH 21 48 56 -12.50% -3
53 Modesto, CA 22 22 22 -60.00% -33
54 Rome, GA 22 46 73 -26.70% -8
55 Billings, MT 22 52 67 -4.30% -1
56 Anchorage, AK 22 53 160 -12.00% -3
57 Aberdeen, WA 23 38 49 15.00% 3
58 Longview, WA 23 39 59 43.80% 7
59 Bremerton-Silverdale, WA 23 40 50 27.80% 5
60 Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC 23 45 57 -11.50% -3
61 Clarksburg, WV 23 50 60 -11.50% -3
62 Centralia, WA 23 51 55 21.10% 4
63 Bay City, MI 23 56 72 35.30% 6
64 Moses Lake, WA 24 35 51 50.00% 8
65 Alexandria, LA 24 37 38 -7.70% -2
66 Albany, OR 24 52 75 -11.10% -3
67 Shelton, WA 25 42 55 38.90% 7
68 Odessa, TX 25 45 57 -7.40% -2
69 Cookeville, TN 25 50 68 8.70% 2
70 Eugene, OR 25 55 58 -37.50% -15
71 New Castle, PA 26 32 41 -16.10% -5
72 Douglas, GA 26 39 41 4.00% 1
73 Rocky Mount, NC 26 45 84 -18.80% -6
74 Grand Island, NE 26 52 75 30.00% 6
74 Holland, MI 26 52 64 -27.80% -10
76 Utica-Rome, NY 27 38 58 68.80% 11
77 Athens, TN 27 46 69 -3.60% -1
78 Hot Springs, AR 27 51 52 -6.90% -2
79 Jackson, TN 27 55 80 8.00% 2
80 Lincoln, NE 27 56 65 -10.00% -3
81 Bend-Redmond, OR 27 62 161 50.00% 9
82 Greenville, NC 28 43 74 -15.20% -5
83 Greensboro-High Point, NC 28 47 90 -24.30% -9
83 Kinston, NC 28 47 77 -12.50% -4
85 College Station-Bryan, TX 28 49 84 0.00% 0
86 Bishop, CA 29 42 48 -44.20% -23
87 Kennewick-Richland, WA 29 48 53 -12.10% -4
88 Chattanooga, TN-GA 29 51 56 -27.50% -11
89 Toledo, OH 29 55 71 -23.70% -9
90 Macon, GA 29 62 78 -17.10% -6
91 Arkadelphia, AR 30 37 54 3.40% 1
92 Bowling Green, KY 30 40 46 -21.10% -8
93 Vincennes, IN 30 42 50 -9.10% -3
94 Wilmington, NC 30 43 71 -3.20% -1
95 Minot, ND 30 48 68 -9.10% -3
96 Gainesville, GA 30 51 55 -9.10% -3
97 Flint, MI 30 55 68 -14.30% -5
98 Duluth, MN-WI 31 36 43 -16.20% -6
99 Dickinson, ND 31 38 58 -8.80% -3
100 Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford, VA 31 39 45 -16.20% -6
101 Corsicana, TX 31 40 46 -22.50% -9
102 Clearlake, CA 31 41 44 -3.10% -1
103 Somerset, PA 31 41 47 -8.80% -3
104 Clarksville, TN-KY 31 43 58 -20.50% -8
104 Greeley, CO 31 43 160 -35.40% -17
104 Washington Court House, OH 31 43 54 -11.40% -4
107 Monroe, LA 31 44 50 -3.10% -1
107 Wabash, IN 31 44 61 -11.40% -4
109 El Centro, CA 31 45 53 -46.60% -27
110 Pittsfield, MA 31 54 77 -13.90% -5
111 Brunswick, GA 31 58 58 0.00% 0
112 Valdosta, GA 31 60 84 3.30% 1
113 Fargo, ND-MN 31 66 82 -8.80% -3
114 Vineyard Haven, MA 32 35 39 -13.50% -5
115 DuBois, PA 32 39 46 3.20% 1
115 Trenton, NJ 32 39 44 -15.80% -6
117 Williamsport, PA 32 40 46 -13.50% -5
118 Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA 32 41 48 -23.80% -10
119 Fort Payne, AL 32 42 49 -11.10% -4
120 Fayetteville, NC 32 47 74 -8.60% -3
121 Crescent City, CA 32 48 69 0.00% 0
122 El Dorado, AR 32 51 54 -5.90% -2
123 Bismarck, ND 32 58 152 -13.50% -5
124 St. Joseph, MO-KS 32 61 87 -17.90% -7
125 Barnstable Town, MA 33 37 38 -5.70% -2
126 Chambersburg-Waynesboro, PA 33 40 50 3.10% 1
127 Morehead City, NC 33 41 49 -2.90% -1
128 Altoona, PA 33 42 64 -13.20% -5
128 Waco, TX 33 42 74 -13.20% -5
130 Ann Arbor, MI 33 43 50 -13.20% -5
130 Erie, PA 33 43 49 -2.90% -1
130 Indiana, PA 33 43 58 -8.30% -3
133 Meridian, MS 33 44 49 6.50% 2
133 Visalia-Porterville, CA 33 44 48 -57.70% -45
135 Killeen-Temple, TX 33 45 93 -17.50% -7
135 Reading, PA 33 45 77 -17.50% -7
137 Florence, SC 33 48 58 0.00% 0
138 Boulder, CO 33 55 116 -29.80% -14
139 Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH 33 56 87 -21.40% -9
140 Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA 33 59 72 -10.80% -4
141 Fort Madison-Keokuk, IA-IL-MO 33 60 69 10.00% 3
141 New Castle, IN 33 60 76 13.80% 4
143 Akron, OH 33 62 74 -21.40% -9
144 Gillette, WY 34 41 44 -22.70% -10
144 Scranton–Wilkes-Barre–Hazleton, PA 34 41 51 -10.50% -4
146 East Stroudsburg, PA 34 42 58 3.00% 1
147 Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ 34 44 61 -12.80% -5
147 State College, PA 34 44 50 -10.50% -4
149 Harrison, AR 34 46 51 -2.90% -1
149 Lewiston-Auburn, ME 34 46 54 17.20% 5
151 Durham-Chapel Hill, NC 34 47 84 -2.90% -1
152 Columbus, GA-AL 34 51 73 -10.50% -4
152 Kalispell, MT 34 51 65 -2.90% -1
154 Texarkana, TX-AR 34 52 66 -5.60% -2
155 Fort Smith, AR-OK 34 55 122 3.00% 1
155 Springfield, IL 34 55 64 -12.80% -5
157 Athens-Clarke County, GA 34 58 68 -5.60% -2
158 Claremont-Lebanon, NH-VT 35 39 43 6.10% 2
159 Lebanon, PA 35 42 49 16.70% 5
159 St. Marys, PA 35 42 49 2.90% 1
159 York-Hanover, PA 35 42 64 -12.50% -5
162 Amarillo, TX 35 43 104 -20.50% -9
162 Show Low, AZ 35 43 45 -18.60% -8
164 Lancaster, PA 35 44 61 -18.60% -8
165 Walla Walla, WA 35 46 54 34.60% 9
166 Asheville, NC 35 48 67 -7.90% -3
167 Cleveland, MS 35 51 63 -10.30% -4
167 Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC 35 51 80 -7.90% -3
167 Michigan City-La Porte, IN 35 51 72 -5.40% -2
170 Hanford-Corcoran, CA 35 53 77 -47.80% -32
171 Elkhart-Goshen, IN 35 54 84 -2.80% -1
172 Savannah, GA 35 55 70 -10.30% -4
173 Greenfield Town, MA 35 56 86 -5.40% -2
174 Jasper, IN 35 60 83 6.10% 2
175 Warner Robins, GA 35 63 81 0.00% 0
176 Albany, GA 35 70 92 -5.40% -2
177 Cedar City, UT 36 42 47 -10.00% -4
178 Gettysburg, PA 36 43 50 -10.00% -4
178 Glenwood Springs, CO 36 43 49 -21.70% -10
180 Ithaca, NY 36 44 54 5.90% 2
180 Johnstown, PA 36 44 58 -5.30% -2
182 Atlantic City-Hammonton, NJ 36 49 93 5.90% 2
183 Spartanburg, SC 36 49 76 -10.00% -4
184 Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO 36 51 81 -7.70% -3
185 Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX 36 53 75 -18.20% -8
185 Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA 36 53 73 5.90% 2
187 Cadillac, MI 36 55 67 -2.70% -1
188 Lima, OH 36 59 68 0.00% 0
189 Springfield, MA 36 67 88 -10.00% -4
190 Beaver Dam, WI 36 73 75 -5.30% -2
191 Fairbanks, AK 36 97 176 9.10% 3
192 Farmington, NM 37 42 43 -17.80% -8
193 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 37 43 61 -17.80% -8
194 Salinas, CA 37 44 67 2.80% 1
194 Watertown-Fort Drum, NY 37 44 64 12.10% 4
196 Gainesville, FL 37 46 55 2.80% 1
197 Houma-Thibodaux, LA 37 47 55 -5.10% -2
198 Jamestown-Dunkirk-Fredonia, NY 37 49 67 5.70% 2
198 Worcester, MA-CT 37 49 87 -5.10% -2
200 Cambridge, MD 37 51 71 5.70% 2
200 Muncie, IN 37 51 84 5.70% 2
202 Mount Vernon, IL 37 55 68 -7.50% -3
203 Champaign-Urbana, IL 37 58 78 -5.10% -2
203 Concord, NH 37 58 101 32.10% 9
205 Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH 37 60 75 -2.60% -1
205 Memphis, TN-MS-AR 37 60 83 -17.80% -8
207 Fresno, CA 37 71 278 -50.00% -37
208 Sioux City, IA-NE-SD 37 72 79 0.00% 0
209 Jackson, WY-ID 38 43 46 -9.50% -4
210 Augusta-Waterville, ME 38 44 51 8.60% 3
210 Effingham, IL 38 44 54 2.70% 1
210 Grand Junction, CO 38 44 49 -13.60% -6
210 Idaho Falls, ID 38 44 48 -7.30% -3
210 Sayre, PA 38 44 54 2.70% 1
210 Sevierville, TN 38 44 50 -5.00% -2
216 Oxford, NC 38 45 67 5.60% 2
217 Sebastian-Vero Beach, FL 38 47 71 2.70% 1
218 Truckee-Grass Valley, CA 38 48 62 -7.30% -3
219 Bangor, ME 38 49 71 31.00% 9
219 Raleigh, NC 38 49 80 -5.00% -2
221 Shreveport-Bossier City, LA 38 50 64 0.00% 0
222 Columbus, IN 38 54 74 2.70% 1
222 Corning, NY 38 54 62 11.80% 4
224 Charleston, WV 38 55 69 2.70% 1
224 Montgomery, AL 38 55 97 -26.90% -14
226 Charleston-North Charleston, SC 38 56 67 8.60% 3
227 Bloomington, IN 38 58 75 -2.60% -1
227 Peoria, IL 38 58 72 -5.00% -2
229 Ellensburg, WA 38 59 82 111.10% 20
229 Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA 38 59 74 -5.00% -2
231 Terre Haute, IN 38 60 74 -5.00% -2
231 Winston-Salem, NC 38 60 67 -7.30% -3
233 Bennington, VT 39 51 84 10.00% 4
234 Colorado Springs, CO 39 44 46 -13.30% -6
235 Redding, CA 39 45 54 -4.90% -2
236 Portland-South Portland, ME 39 46 71 0.00% 0
237 Columbia, MO 39 48 77 18.20% 6
238 Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA 39 49 53 -7.10% -3
239 Napa, CA 39 49 77 8.30% 3
240 Panama City, FL 39 50 76 -2.50% -1
241 Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL 39 50 100 8.30% 3
242 Lafayette, LA 39 52 80 -4.90% -2
242 Syracuse, NY 39 52 64 8.30% 3
244 Austin-Round Rock, TX 39 53 77 -11.40% -5
245 Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY 39 54 76 5.40% 2
245 Kokomo, IN 39 54 78 2.60% 1
247 Columbia, SC 39 55 67 2.60% 1
248 Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY 39 56 86 0.00% 0
249 Decatur, IL 39 58 75 -4.90% -2
249 Fort Wayne, IN 39 58 79 -11.40% -5
249 Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, SC 39 58 99 -2.50% -1
249 Winchester, VA-WV 39 58 80 11.40% 4
253 Dover, DE 39 59 108 8.30% 3
254 Helena, MT 39 60 63 -2.50% -1
254 Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD 39 60 80 -18.80% -9
256 Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA 39 66 82 8.30% 3
257 Carlsbad-Artesia, NM 40 44 49 -13.00% -6
257 Price, UT 40 44 50 -7.00% -3
259 Tupelo, MS 40 46 61 14.30% 5
260 Berlin, NH-VT 40 48 80 -7.00% -3
261 Quincy, IL-MO 40 49 58 5.30% 2
262 Sonora, CA 40 50 87 -2.40% -1
263 Port Angeles, WA 40 51 57 21.20% 7
264 New Orleans-Metairie, LA 40 52 106 -9.10% -4
265 Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC 40 53 71 -4.80% -2
266 Hattiesburg, MS 40 54 92 11.10% 4
266 Provo-Orem, UT 40 54 67 -11.10% -5
266 Rochester, NY 40 54 78 8.10% 3
266 Charlottesville, VA 40 54 77 14.30% 5
270 Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 40 56 63 -16.70% -8
270 Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR 40 56 100 -4.80% -2
272 Bloomington, IL 40 58 71 -2.40% -1
272 Lafayette-West Lafayette, IN 40 58 82 -7.00% -3
272 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 40 58 71 -7.00% -3
275 Elizabethtown-Fort Knox, KY 40 60 84 5.30% 2
276 Adrian, MI 40 61 83 5.30% 2
277 Weirton-Steubenville, WV-OH 40 62 95 2.60% 1
278 New Haven-Milford, CT 40 63 136 -4.80% -2
279 Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV 40 63 75 5.30% 2
280 Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT 40 65 151 2.60% 1
281 Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA 40 65 86 -2.40% -1
282 Appleton, WI 40 70 112 8.10% 3
283 Logan, UT-ID 40 74 105 -9.10% -4
284 Durango, CO 41 45 49 -6.80% -3
284 Flagstaff, AZ 41 45 51 -6.80% -3
284 St. George, UT 41 45 52 -6.80% -3
287 Rockland, ME 41 48 80 32.30% 10
287 Carson City, NV 41 48 71 0.00% 0
289 Casper, WY 41 49 90 0.00% 0
290 Jefferson City, MO 41 51 80 17.10% 6
291 Baton Rouge, LA 41 52 64 -6.80% -3
291 Port St. Lucie, FL 41 52 81 7.90% 3
293 Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, MS 41 54 85 -6.80% -3
293 Sierra Vista-Douglas, AZ 41 54 104 -8.90% -4
295 Providence-Warwick, RI-MA 41 55 78 -4.70% -2
296 Burlington-South Burlington, VT 41 58 84 13.90% 5
297 Wenatchee, WA 41 58 70 95.20% 20
298 Evansville, IN-KY 41 60 89 0.00% 0
299 Sioux Falls, SD 41 61 100 17.10% 6
300 Ogden-Clearfield, UT 41 63 96 -10.90% -5
301 Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC 41 64 145 -6.80% -3
301 Muscatine, IA 41 64 88 36.70% 11
301 Kalamazoo-Portage, MI 41 64 100 7.90% 3
304 Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT 41 69 151 -6.80% -3
305 Green Bay, WI 41 71 113 17.10% 6
306 Americus, GA 42 51 74 31.30% 10
307 Rapid City, SD 42 54 78 -4.50% -2
308 El Paso, TX 42 54 74 -22.20% -12
308 Lake Charles, LA 42 54 74 2.40% 1
308 Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA 42 54 117 -10.60% -5
308 Cheyenne, WY 42 54 74 7.70% 3
312 Tallahassee, FL 42 57 77 2.40% 1
313 Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD 42 63 84 0.00% 0
314 Baraboo, WI 42 64 97 16.70% 6
314 Topeka, KS 42 64 93 7.70% 3
316 Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN 42 67 88 -8.70% -4
317 Laramie, WY 43 45 47 -6.50% -3
318 Huntsville, AL 43 55 101 7.50% 3
319 Madison, WI 43 55 55 7.50% 3
320 Lawton, OK 43 56 71 7.50% 3
321 New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 43 59 83 -8.50% -4
322 Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA 43 60 80 -2.30% -1
323 Knoxville, TN 43 64 150 4.90% 2
323 South Bend-Mishawaka, IN-MI 43 64 99 0.00% 0
325 Kansas City, MO-KS 43 65 93 -10.40% -5
326 Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA 43 66 90 16.20% 6
327 Dayton, OH 43 67 95 -2.30% -1
328 Prescott, AZ 44 51 64 -2.20% -1
329 Fallon, NV 44 54 90 10.00% 4
330 Jackson, MS 44 57 71 0.00% 0
331 Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, FL 44 58 76 0.00% 0
332 Payson, AZ 44 58 80 -6.40% -3
332 Yuma, AZ 44 58 94 0.00% 0
332 Boise City, ID 44 58 84 -6.40% -3
332 Santa Fe, NM 44 58 112 0.00% 0
336 Dalton, GA 44 61 77 25.70% 9
337 Vernal, UT 44 62 84 -2.20% -1
338 Brainerd, MN 44 63 97 46.70% 14
339 Corpus Christi, TX 44 64 113 10.00% 4
340 Ardmore, OK 44 64 93 2.30% 1
340 Salt Lake City, UT 44 64 133 -12.00% -6
340 Chico, CA 44 64 105 -13.70% -7
340 Yuba City, CA 44 64 93 -8.30% -4
344 Springfield, OH 44 66 84 10.00% 4
344 Wichita, KS 44 66 112 7.30% 3
346 Brookings, SD 44 67 108 15.80% 6
347 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA 44 68 196 -55.10% -54
348 Pittsburgh, PA 44 72 123 -10.20% -5
349 Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI 44 77 119 0.00% 0
350 Fort Collins, CO 45 49 61 -6.30% -3
351 Jacksonville, FL 45 61 88 4.70% 2
352 McAlester, OK 45 64 117 15.40% 6
353 Bartlesville, OK 45 68 129 12.50% 5
354 Rockford, IL 45 70 95 15.40% 6
355 Albuquerque, NM 45 72 152 -16.70% -9
356 Canton-Massillon, OH 45 72 92 7.10% 3
356 Tucson, AZ 45 72 128 -15.10% -8
358 Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL 46 64 129 4.50% 2
359 San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA 46 65 151 2.20% 1
360 Columbus, OH 46 68 85 12.20% 5
361 Reno, NV 46 69 112 0.00% 0
362 Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN 46 70 98 -6.10% -3
363 Las Cruces, NM 46 74 438 -13.20% -7
364 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL 47 61 84 9.30% 4
365 Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO 47 64 109 -19.00% -11
366 Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI 47 66 66 14.60% 6
367 Cedar Rapids, IA 47 67 123 17.50% 7
368 Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN 47 69 133 9.30% 4
369 Iowa City, IA 47 69 107 34.30% 12
370 Nogales, AZ 47 76 166 38.20% 13
371 Brownsville-Harlingen, TX 48 70 99 11.60% 5
372 Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV 48 74 112 -21.30% -13
373 Ponca City, OK 48 78 163 14.30% 6
374 Tulsa, OK 49 74 163 14.00% 6
375 Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA 49 80 92 -18.30% -11
376 Big Spring, TX 49 146 178 444.40% 40
377 Birmingham-Hoover, AL 50 64 93 4.20% 2
378 Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL 50 66 98 11.10% 5
379 San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX 50 79 205 2.00% 1
380 Oklahoma City, OK 51 67 106 10.90% 5
381 Clinton, IA 51 70 112 37.80% 14
382 Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN 51 74 107 2.00% 1
383 Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX 51 84 159 -1.90% -1
384 St. Louis, MO-IL 52 67 88 -3.70% -2
385 Wheeling, WV-OH 52 71 98 52.90% 18
386 San Diego-Carlsbad, CA 55 86 126 -22.50% -16
387 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 56 78 108 30.20% 13
388 Cleveland-Elyria, OH 56 80 96 16.70% 8
389 Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA 57 68 80 39.00% 16
390 Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI 59 74 104 5.40% 3
391 Yakima, WA 62 72 87 77.10% 27
392 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 64 115 176 -23.80% -20
393 Missoula, MT 65 91 104 38.30% 18
394 Bakersfield, CA 92 143 152 13.60% 11
395 Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ 166 217 272 39.50% 47

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.

Methodology

We accessed the Air Quality Index (AQI) annual summary data from 2021 and 2020 by metropolitan data from the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality Index Report. 2021 data was last updated by the Environmental Protection Agency on May 18, 2021.

AQI is calculated using the pollutant measurements:

  • ground-level ozone
  • particle pollution (also known as particulate matter, including PM2.5 and PM10)
  • carbon monoxide
  • sulfur dioxide
  • nitrogen dioxide

In cases where areas have monitoring stations for some but not all of the pollutants, AQI is calculated using the pollutant measurements available.

For cities not included in the Air Quality Index Report annual summary data for 2020, we used the Air Quality Index Daily Values Report to find daily AQI values, which we then used to calculate annual AQI values. We also used the Air Quality Index Daily Values Report for the selected metropolitan areas where we compared the daily AQI values in 2021 and 2020 compared to the 5 year median.

For media inquiries:

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Allan Givens
Public Relations Manager
203-818-2928
allan.givens@finder.com
/in/nicole-gallina/

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Nicole Gallina
Communications Coordinator
347-677-4931
nicole.gallina@finder.com
/in/nicole-gallina/

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