Dirtiest and cleanest cities in the U.S. in 2022: Which ones have the cleanest air?

Dirtiest and cleanest cities in the U.S. in 2022: Which ones have the cleanest air?

Pollution is an ever-widening problem for developed and developing economies across the world. The USA is an extensive cosmopolitan with a large population and numerous economic activities that put it at risk of high levels of air pollution. This article highlights the dirtiest and cleanest cities in the U.S. in 2022 to help you plan your visit or choose a place to live.

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Cleanest cities in the U.S.
The cleanest metropolitan areas in the U.S. have lower levels of ozone and particle pollution. Photo: @ybernardi, @pixabay.com
Source: UGC

The United States’ Clean Air Act (CAA) was established to regulate air emissions from mobile and stationary sources. The federal law champions the achievement of National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) through state implementation plans (SIPs) across the 50 states. For over 50 years, the CAA has ensured healthier Americans and an ever-improving economy.

Which U.S. city is the cleanest city?

The American Lung Association reports that over four in ten Americans stay in areas with high ozone and particle pollution. Breathing in the two air contaminants increases the risk of lung health issues, including lung cancer, which leads to early deaths. Fine particles that cause air pollution can be smaller than 1/30th the diameter of human hair, and if you inhale them, they can easily get past the body’s natural defences.

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Where is the cleanest air in the USA? Here are the top ten cleanest cities in the United States, according to the American Lung Association. The cities are ranked according to year-round particle pollution average levels calculated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

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1. Urban Honolulu, Hawaii

Cleanest city in the U.S.
Honolulu in Hawaii is the cleanest city in the United States. Photo: @Art Wager
Source: Getty Images

Urban Honolulu is the capital of Hawaii with a population of about 974,563. The metropolitan area has the least air particle contamination. Honolulu is also the cleanest city in the U.S. with regard to ozone pollution.

2. Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, Hawaii

Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina is a metropolitan area in the Hawaiian island of Maui with a population of about 167,902. It has the second least annual particle air pollution in the United States.

3. Cheyenne, Wyoming

Cheyenne is the capital of Wyoming and has a population of about 99,500 in 2022. The downtown metro has excellent outdoors, and it is a great place to visit if you love cowboys, trains and rodeos.

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4. Wilmington, North Carolina

Wilmington is a port city in North Carolina with a population of about 297,533 in 2022. The coastal metro has beautiful beaches and is dedicated to building green infrastructure and sustainable energy.

5. Casper, Wyoming

Casper is a city in central Wyoming and has a population of about 79,858 in 2022. The Natrona County metro area has numerous world-class outdoor recreational opportunities that will make your visit or stay vibrant

6. St. George, Utah

St. George is a city in southwestern Utah with a population of about 177,556 in 2022. Utah is a warmer town all year round and has moderate winter conditions in addition to clean air.

7. Bellingham, Washington State

Bellingham is a coastal town in Washington State, close to the Canadian border. It is among the best cities to stay or visit, not just for its fresh air but also for its numerous outdoor activities.

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8. Elmira-Corning, New York

Elmira-Corning is a metropolitan area in Chemung County, New York. It has a population of 178,835 in 2022. It ties at the 7th position for the cleanest city for annual particle pollution and tops the list for least ozone pollution.

9. Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Sioux Falls is a metro area in South Dakota with a population of about 196,000 in 2022. The Midwest metro is among the top cities with the best air quality all year, making it ideal for staying or visiting.

10. Duluth, Minnesota

Cleanest cities in the U.S.
A view of Leif Ericson Park in Duluth, Minnesota. Photo: @Jacob Boomsma
Source: Getty Images

Duluth is a town on Lake Superior in Minnesota with a population of about 86,000. The metropolitan area has over 11,000 acres of green space.

Which U.S. state is the cleanest?

In most cases, the air condition of metropolitan areas does not affect the quality of air for the entire state. A study conducted on all the 50 states of the U.S. indicates that Texas is the dirtiest state, followed by California and Kentucky in second and third positions, respectively. Here are the top 10 cleanest states in the U.S. in 2022.

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  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Hawaii
  • New York
  • New Hampshire
  • Delaware
  • North Dakota
  • Maryland
  • Virginia
  • Vermont

What is the dirtiest city in the U.S.?

Dirtiest cities in the U.S.
Bakersfield in California is the dirtiest city in the US, with high levels of fine particles pollution. Photo: @marcinjozwiak, @pixabay.com
Source: UGC

The dirtiest metro areas in the U.S. have high levels of particle and ozone pollution. They are not the best places to live if you have respiratory-related ailments like asthma or COPD. Here are the top 10 dirtiest cities in America for year-round particle pollution, as ranked by the American Lung Association.

  1. Bakersfield, California - Second-dirtiest for ozone pollution
  2. Fresno-Madera-Hanford, California - Fourth dirtiest for ozone pollution
  3. Visalia, California - Third dirtiest for ozone pollution
  4. Long Angeles-Long Beach, California - The dirtiest metro for ozone pollution
  5. Medford-Grants Pass, Oregon
  6. Fairbanks, Alaska
  7. San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, California - Tenth dirtiest metro for ozone pollution
  8. Phoenix-Mesa, Arizona - Fifth dirtiest for ozone pollution
  9. Pittsburgh-New Castle-Weirton in Pennsylvania and bordering parts of Ohio and West Virginia
  10. El Centro, California

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The U.S. EPA strives to ensure the cleanest cities in the U.S. have the cleanest air by implementing the CAA. In 2020, reductions in ozone and fine particle pollution prevented over 2.3 million premature deaths and saved 17 million workdays and 5.4 million school days. Cleaner air has a positive impact on the economic growth of an area.

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