5 US Cities With the Best Air Quality

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Increased industrial activities, vehicle emissions, wildfires, and a variety of similar factors have significantly deteriorated air quality, not just in the US but all over the world.

Apart from the catastrophic climatic impact this can cause, pollutants in the air could also lead to serious health issues, including respiratory ailments, cardiovascular complications, and cancer.

Children, older adults, and those who work outdoors or have respiratory and other critical health conditions are particularly susceptible to experiencing health issues due to polluted air. If you or your family fall under any of these categories, being extra cautious of your city’s air quality is essential.

Want to know which cities have the cleanest air in America? Let’s take a look.

5 US Cities With the Best Air Quality

The recently released State of the Air 2024 report of the American Lung Association sheds light on top places in the US with clean air. It is prepared based on ozone and fine particulate matter levels—two dangerous pollutants identified under the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

As per the report’s findings, here are the cities that rank high for clean air in America, listed in alphabetical order.

1. Bangor, ME

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With an estimated population of 153,704, Bangor is the third most populous city in the state of Maine.

It holds fifth place for the lowest year-round air particle pollution in the US, while appearing among the cleanest cities as measured by ozone pollution for the seventh consecutive year.

Bangor has also secured a place in the list of top cities for low short-term (daily) particle pollution for 15 years now.

In general, residents of Penobscot County, which Bangor is part of, seem to enjoy better air quality than in most other places. The county has scored an A grade for particle and ozone pollution and has zero high ozone days reported.

2. Johnson City-Kingsport-Bristol, TN-VA

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The Tri-Cities region, which comprises Kingsport, Johnson City, and Bristol, is taken as a single population center in the State of the Air 2024 report when measuring air quality.

According to the study, the region has a combined population of 521,528 and an impressive track record for clean air.

Johnson City, Kingsport, and Bristol have some of the lowest long-term particle and ozone pollution levels in the US. With a design value of 6.5, they are among the top 25 cities for the lowest year-round particle pollution, too.

Moreover, the Sullivan and Bristol City counties, which share the Tri-Cities region, have made the cleanest counties list based on daily particle levels in the air.

3. Lincoln-Beatrice, NE

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The 364,031-resident Lincoln-Beatrice area in Nebraska is tied for first place with the other cities listed in this article for lowest ozone and short-term air particle pollution, while being ranked 23 for low long-term fine particles.

This is an outstanding achievement, considering that only 7 out of the 93 counties in Nebraska made it to at least one grading list for air quality in this year’s report.

The state reported ozone-related data for just three of its counties, out of which only Lancaster, which Lincoln-Beatrice is under, managed to gain an A grade.

Nebraska’s particle pollution data doesn’t look any better, either, with just 6 counties reporting data out of 93. Again, only Lancaster received an A grade.

4. Urban Honolulu, HI

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With 995,638 people, this is one of the most densely populated areas in the US. Despite that, it ranks first among the cleanest cities for year-round particle levels, scoring a 3.7 design value.

The state of Hawaii seems to be doing well, too, when it comes to low pollution. Four out of its five states have made the gradings for at least one air quality measure, and Hawaii, Honolulu, Kauai, and Maui have received an A grade for low particle levels. Honolulu is graded A for ozone as well, with zero high ozone days.

The trade winds, vast natural environment, and various local government initiatives to curb pollution have definitely had an impact on making Hawaii’s air clean and breathable.

5. Wilmington, NC

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This is the fourth cleanest city in the American Lung Association’s list of 25 cities with the lowest year-round particle pollution. It is also among the top cities for low ozone and daily particle pollutants.

Wilmington has maintained high particle days at zero over the last nine consecutive years. 

It has even achieved a dramatic decline in high ozone days (based on the annual weighted average) and annual average particle concentration in the past two decades.

But high air quality levels are not just limited to Wilmington or New Hanover County it belongs to. 29 out of the 30 counties in the North Carolina state that reported data on ozone pollution have an A or B grade for ozone days.

Is Your City’s Air Quality Deteriorating? 

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Unfortunately, almost four in ten Americans live in cities where air pollution has reached unhealthy levels. If you are, too, it is time to move to a new city or state that could provide a more breathable environment for you and your family.

You can research online to find areas with low levels of pollutants. Then, speak to a real estate agent or browse online listings to find a suitable property in the localities you have identified.

Alternatively, if you notice a house you would like to purchase during your visits, you can directly reach out to its owner and check whether the property is on the market. To learn their contact details, simply reverse search the house address on Nuwber

Of course, wherever you choose to make your home, doing your part to help minimize pollution in your city is important, too. Opting for carpooling or public transportation, using an electric vehicle, avoiding backyard fires, and conserving energy are some of the essential environment-friendly practices to adopt.

Key Takeaways

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With news of worsening health issues and climatic conditions dominating the media, more Americans are becoming concerned about the breathability of air in their cities.

However, some places in the US are doing better than others in preserving air quality.

According to the American Lung Association’s State of the Air 2024 report, Bangor, ME, Johnson City-Kingsport-Bristol, TN-VA, Lincoln-Beatrice, NE, Urban Honolulu, HI, and Wilmington, NC, top the charts for places with clean air in the US.

If you are getting worried about the pollution levels of your city and their impact on you and your family, moving to an area with a cleaner environment is always a better option before things get worse.

Adopting a lifestyle that could help your city minimize pollution is equally essential for ensuring it is able to sustain a purer atmosphere in the years to come.

  • Greener Ideal Staff

    Greener Ideal helps you live your life in more sustainable ways with green living tips and commentary on the latest environment news. We want to protect the planet and reduce our collective carbon footprint.

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