Best and Worst Cities in the US for Air Quality

Air pollution is a serious problem. It’s affecting individual’s asthma and allergies, and on a large scale it’s contributing to climate change. The climbing temperatures increase ozone in the environment, which in turn provokes an allergic reaction. It’s one big cycle of “NOPE” that just keeps going.

With Spring Break around the corner in a couple of months, it’s vacation planning season! And it’s important for families to know about air quality when planning where to go next. For that reason, we’re bringing you the best and worst cities for air quality in the United States.

Best Cities for Clean Air

In 2017, the American Lung Association released the results of their State of the Air report. The ALA has been collecting data on the air quality of US cities for more than 18 years. In this report they noted 6 cities that did not have a “bad air day” between 2013 – 2015. This is notable, considering a bad air day is any day where either particulate matter pollution or ozone pollution has a spike.

The 3 cleanest cities in order of population (largest to smallest) are:

Naples Area, Florida

This area includes Naples, Cape Coral and Fort Myers and has a population of over 1.5 million people. Naples is known for its beaches and home fronts that offer both beauty and luxury to the constituents and tourists who visit. You can breathe easy if you go to Naples, you’re breathing some of the cleanest air in the United States.

Honolulu, Hawaii

Being a destination spot for tourists that has almost 1 million residents of its own, you would think Honolulu might have some issues with pollution. But that’s not so, according to researchers. Year over year, Honolulu makes the list of cleanest cities in the U.S. If you’re planning for optimal health on your next destination vacation, plan to breathe clean air on the beaches of Honolulu.

Palm Bay Area, Florida

Palm Bay Area, Florida includes Titusville and Melbourne. This area has a population of 588,000. Palm Bay is actually the most populated city in all of Brevard County, yet the air is better than many cities that are more sparsely populated.

Other cities that didn’t experience a “bad air day” include:

  • Wilmington, North Carolina (population 277,969)
  • Burlington-South Burlington, Vermont (population 217,042)
  • Elmira-Corning, New York (population 184,702)

Worst Cities for Clean Air

When it comes to air pollution, the State of the Air report looks at three categories: 1) By Ozone 2) By Year Round Particle Pollution 3) By Short-Term Air Pollution. Here are the cities that did poorly across the board. If you have allergies, the outdoor air in the following cities are more likely to trigger an allergic reaction.

Bakersfield Area, California

There are 376,380 people who call Bakersfield, CA home. But if cleanliness is close to Godliness, the city just north of the City of Angels, misses the mark.

That’s because Bakersfield is number 2 for ozone pollution (behind Los Angeles), number 2 for year round particle pollution and number 1 for short term particle pollution. In a state defined by cinema, innovative technology and Earth positive legislation, Bakersfield area can do better.

We’re including LA in the description of “Bakersfield Area” because it comes in at number 1 for ozone, number 5 for year round particle pollution and number 9 for short-term particle pollution.  

In fact, if you took a map of California and drew a circle around the midsection of the state, from Los Angeles to Fresno, Bakersfield is right in the middle. That whole area has serious clean air issues and should be avoided when possible by people with allergies and asthma.

Phoenix to Mesa

While we are circling things on our map, move over to Arizona and put a big ‘x’ over the area from Phoenix to Mesa. This area which includes Phoenix, Mesa and Scottsdale ranks number 5 for high ozone days, 24 for daily particle pollution and 47 for annual particle pollution. With a population of 4,574,531 this is one of those densely populated areas that lives up to the hype that more people means more pollution, period.

New York, Newark and Surrounding Areas

Pollution that transcends state boundaries puts New York City, Newark, NJ and the surrounding area, that includes parts of Pennsylvania and Connecticut, together on this list. The area, which spans the distance of a 13 minute train-ride, is home to 23 million people, over 2 million of which have asthma.

But as a hub for job growth and industry in the United States, the New York City area has been dubbed one of the poorest in air quality. It ranks number 9 for highest ozone days, number 28 for daily particle pollution and number 22 for annual particle pollution.

The Results Are In…

Parents often carry a burden that feels like the weight of the world on their shoulders when looking out for the needs of their family. Having a child with asthma or allergies can be a terrifying experience that absolutely informs your decisions like which destination is best spot to spend Spring Break.

Sollievo is here to provide you with information to help make those important decisions that keep your family healthy. You may not be able to protect your child from every allergy trigger, but you can provide a healthy home no matter if you live in Bakersfield or Honolulu.

For more information on products that will impact the air quality in your home, click here.

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