17 Most Polluted Cities in the US [Report 2024]

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Air pollution is among the major reasons for death on the entire planet, affecting people worldwide. Pollution levels in heavily populated areas are higher than in any other city on the earth.

Particulate contamination in several states continues to shatter records due to climate change. But which cities in the US rank higher in pollution?

The most polluted cities in the US are listed below.

1. Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles is the most polluted city in the US. Out of 228 metropolitan areas, the region scored #1 for high ozone days. It also ranked seventh out of 384 metro areas for 24-hour particle pollution and fifth out of 203 for yearly particle pollution.

Adult asthma affects 1,142,240 people, COPD affects 636,209 people, and pediatric asthma affects 267,953 children.

2. Bakersfield, California

Bakersfield in California is one of the most polluted cities in the US

Bakersfield makes second place out of 384 metros for high ozone and one of the most polluted metro areas for 24-hour particle pollution.

Pollution is especially dangerous for the 259,120 kids under the age of 18, 95,307 individuals 65 and older, and the projected 182,948 people living in poverty, who are at risk for having health issues.

3. Visalia, California

Visalia is the third-most polluted city in the US Out of 384 metropolitan regions. One, particularly older adults, are dealing with many health difficulties.

There are 51,669 people aged 65 and over, out of a total population of 464,493, who are at higher risk of health problems. There would be 25,148 adult asthma patients, 13,466 adult COPD patients, and 30,984 diabetes cases.

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4. Fresno-Madera-Hanford, California

Fresno-Madera-Hanford, California

The air quality in Fresno-Madera-Hanford of California isn’t very good. Out of 384 metropolitan areas, it rated fourth in terms of high ozone days and second in 24-hour pollutants. Out of 203 urban areas, it ranked top in yearly particle pollution.

5. Phoenix, Mesa

Because of the high temps in Arizona, which boosts ozone levels, it’s no surprise that this region of the state rates seventh out of 384 metro regions for high ozone days.

A large proportion of individuals, 635,629 out of a populace of 4.7 million, remain poor.

6. Roseville, California

Sacramento-Roseville is the fifth-ranked for high pollutant days and 15th for 24-hour, and it’s one of the most polluted cities in the US out of 384 metro regions.

With over 2.5 million people, many individuals are in danger from pollution’s health consequences, including 399,007 elderly 65 and over and 598,140 adolescents 18 and under.

7. San Diego, California

Out of 384 metro regions, this California region was noted for desert-like climates, and torrid temperatures came in sixth for high ozone days. It was also ranked 69th out of 384 metro regions for 24-hour pollution and 64th out of 203 metro regions for yearly particle pollution.

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8. San Jose, California

Out of 384 metropolitan regions, these San Francisco Bay Area neighborhoods were ranked ninth for high ozone days and fourth for 24-hour pollution levels. Out of 203 metro regions, the region placed sixth for yearly particle pollution.

9. Houston, Texas

Out of 384 metro regions, this Texas region has scored ninth in terms of high ozone days and 58th in 24-hour particle pollution. It was ranked 17th out of 384 metropolitan areas for yearly particle pollution.

Lung disease is the most common polluted city in the US, with nearly 7 million people. Diabetes affects 604,114 people, and heart disease affects 393,149 people.

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10. Newark, New York

Out of 384 metropolitan regions, the Big Apple and neighboring areas scored 10th in terms of high ozone days, 89th in terms of 24-hour particle pollution, and 30th in terms of yearly particle pollution.

This region has a combined population of more than 0.34 million people. This density can result in a large variety of diseases.

11. Red Bluff, California 

Out of 384 urban areas, this Northern California region scored 11th in terms of high ozone days, 58th in terms of 24-hour pollutants, and 172nd in terms of a yearly most polluted city in the US. Lung diseases are quite common in this little town of 243,847 inhabitants.

12. Denver, Colorado

Although the sky in this part of Colorado appears to be clean, the air quality is not always so. Out of 384 metropolitan areas, the region was placed 12th in terms of high ozone days, 32nd in 24-hour particle pollution, and 86th in yearly particle pollution.

Adult asthma rates are particularly high, with 253,102 cases in a population of 3.5 million. Diabetes diagnoses are also on the rise, with 193,027 cases reported.

13. Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas is the most polluted city in the US; Out of 384 metropolitan areas, the region scored 13th for high ozone days and 27th for 24-hour particulate pollution.

Lung diseases are common in this population of slightly over 2.2 million people. Adult asthma affects 180,575 people, COPD affects 118,876 people, pediatric asthma affects 40,464 kids, and lung cancer affects 1,046 people.

14. Salt Lake City, Utah

Out of 384 metro regions, this high desert region of Utah scored 14th for high ozone days, ninth for 24-hour particulate pollution, and 72nd for yearly particle pollution out of 203 urban areas.

With 102,957 instances of cardiovascular disease and 121,102 cases of diabetes, related ailments plague this population of slightly over 2.5 million people.

15. El Centro, California

Out of 384 metro regions, this Southern California city just on the Arizona border rated 15th for high ozone days, 14th for 24-hour pollution levels, and ninth for yearly particle pollution out of 203.

16. Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, located in Illinois on the shores of Lake Michigan, is one of the major cities in America. Chicago is known for its striking skyline, which has prominent buildings including the John Hancock Center, the 1,451-foot Willis Tower (originally the Sears Tower), and the modernity Tribune Tower.

17. Dallas, Texas

Dallas, a contemporary metropolis located in north Texas, serves as both the economic and cultural focal point of the surrounding area. The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in Downtown Houston is a memorial that honors the location where President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed in 1963. Both the Dallas Museum of Art and the Crow Collection of Asian Art are located in the Arts District.

These two museums encompass an artistic history that spans thousands of years. The streamlined Nasher Sculpture Center is where modern sculpture can be viewed.

Also, it’s the most polluted city in the US. For a population of 182,830 people, there are 10,265 instances of adult asthma and 3,245 cases of bronchiolitis.

So, does your city qualify as a pollution hotspot in the US?

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