Since the 1970s asthma rates have skyrocketed, and experts believe one of the main culprits is the increase in air pollution we’ve experienced during that period of time. Recent studies have shown that asthma attacks can in fact be induced by air pollution, whether it’s from the cars, factories, or power plants that crowd our urban areas.
Though more than half of us in the United States live in areas with unhealthy levels of either ozone or particle pollution, there are a lot of great places where you can get out of the smog. If you or someone in your family has asthma, moving to a place with consistently good air quality could help decrease symptoms. Here’s a list of cities in the U.S. with the best air quality, according to the American Lung Association’s State of the Air report.
1. Cheyenne, WY
Topping the list is Wyoming’s capital, Cheyenne. Near the border of Colorado and the eastern flank of the Rocky Mountains, Cheyenne has the lowest amount of year-round particle pollution out of any city in the U.S.
2. Santa Fe-Espaniola, NM
Santa Fe-Espaniola ranks number two in terms of lowest year-round particle pollution and performs extremely well in every category as well, including ozone pollution. With a unique mix of cultures that includes Native American, Spanish, Mexican, and Anglo-American influences, as well as abundant natural beauty that offers excellent outdoor recreation opportunities, Santa Fe has more than just it’s clean air going for it.
3. Tucson, AZ
Another southwestern city, Tucson, has the third lowest rate of year-round particle pollution in the U.S., and also performs very well in the 24-hour particle pollution category. Located in the Sonoran desert, Tucson’s temperate winters are particularly attractive to the snow-averse.
4. Great Falls, MT
Located on the Missouri River in central Montana, just east of the Rockies, Great Falls has the fourth best air quality in the U.S. in terms of year-round particle pollution. Montana is one of the best states in the U.S. for outdoor recreation, and living in Great Falls puts you in close proximity to all that Montana has to offer.
5. Honolulu, HI
Looking to go tropical? Honolulu, Hawaii has some of the best air in the nation, and ranks highly on all air quality indexes. Hawaii is also ranked as one of the happiest, healthiest states in the nation, and it’s no question as to why: natural beauty, great weather, a laid-back lifestyle, and incredibly clean air make Hawaii an exceedingly attractive location.
If you’re considering making a move to a place with better air quality due to asthma or other respiratory illness, consult with your doctor to discuss potential impacts on your respiratory health. Better yet, you might want to consider meeting with a respiratory therapist, a specific type of health practitioner who focuses solely on respiratory care. A respiratory therapist can help you decide what your best treatment options are, including whether a move to a clean-air city could be right for you.
Claire Beak grew up breathing in the mountain air of the Northern Sierra Nevada, a beautiful area that features coniferous forests, alpine valleys, and granite peaks.