Report: California's Most Polluted Counties

The American Lung Association’s 2023 State of the Air report is bad news for California. Years of wildfires have reversed the state’s clean air progress, the report shows. California cities now comprise the majority of U.S. cities with the worst short-term particle pollution.

A number of California counties pepper ALA’s list of the most polluted places to live as well. Ten out of the eleven counties that received failing grades for all 3 measures of pollution (daily particulte matter, annual particulate matter, and ozone) are in California: Fresno, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, Madera, Riverside, San Bernardino, Stanislaus, Sutter, and Tulare.

See a list of the worst counties for pollution on p. 21 of the report

Want to breathe cleaner air? It may require a move out of state. According to ALA, the cleanest places to live (in alphabetical order) are Asheville-Marion-Brevard, NC; Bangor, ME; Greenville-Kinston-Washington, NC; Lincoln-Beatrice, NE; Rochester-Batavia-Seneca Falls, NY; Urban Honolulu, HI; and Wilmington, NC.

Lists and data were compiled by the American Lung Association and may not reflect statistics on all localities.