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Why Lake Havasu and Kingman have the cleanest air

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Recent research shows that the Lake Havasu-Kingman area has the best air quality in the country, while metro Phoenix has some of the worst.

SmartSurvey’s research identified the areas across the country with the worst air quality by evaluating 12 air quality indicators using 2023 data from the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Each area was given a total index score: the lower the score, the worse the air quality.

It may not come as a surprise to many that Phoenix and its surrounding cities scored poorly in the Air Quality Index rankings. The Lake Havasu-Kingman area, on the other hand, excelled on all 12 factors, making it the best area in the country for air quality, according to the study.

Mo Naser, CEO of SmartSurvey and data collection expert, said the areas identified in the survey show “shocking” levels of poor air quality, and he said the rankings aimed to raise awareness of the effects of emissions and fossil fuels on the environment. .

“Making these types of studies is so important,” Naser said. “Identifying the areas in the U.S. with the worst air quality, based on empirical evidence and data, raises our awareness of how the air we breathe can be unhealthy or even dangerous.”

Here’s why these two areas in Arizona received their respective spots on the rankings, as well as an overview of the areas with the worst air quality in the entire county.

The 15 Areas with the Worst Air Quality in the US

These are the core-based statistical areas, including metropolitan and micropolitan areas, with the worst air quality in the country, along with their air quality index scores, according to SmartSurvey.

Please note that the Air Quality Index score assigned to each area differs from the Air Quality Index established by the Environmental Protection Agency. The lower the score on the ranking, the lower the air quality.

  1. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, California: 03/17
  2. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas: 28.36
  3. Albuquerque, New Mexico: 29.64
  4. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, Illinois-Indiana-Wisconsin: 32.58
  5. Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, Wisconsin: 33.41
  6. El Centro, California: 33.94
  7. Cleveland-Elyria, Ohio: 35.37
  8. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, Michigan: 37.39
  9. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colorado: 37.70
  10. Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, Indiana: 38.57
  11. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Arizona: 38.87
  12. Pittsburgh, PA: 40.93
  13. Birmingham-Hoover, AL: 40.99
  14. Grand Rapids-Wyoming, Michigan: 41.20
  15. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas: 41.59

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Does Lake Havasu have the best air quality in the US?

Located in Mohave County on the western border of Arizona and California, the Lake Havasu-Kingman area is generally considered a prime Arizona vacation destination.

Lake Havasu City in particular features warm beaches, charming landscapes, fun water activities, and a dynamic nightlife, making it a favorite destination for those looking to get away from it all and unwind. The area has just about everything that would make a great vacation destination: an ocean-like beach, multiple picnic and play areas, volleyball courts, dog parks, a skate park, and the famous London Bridge. With small waves lapping the shore and seagulls howling overhead, it’s easy to forget that you never left the state.

Add excellent air quality to the list of benefits and you might end up with a near-perfect vacation spot to spend some time this summer.

The Lake Havasu area also enjoyed the best air quality in the country in 2023, according to SmartSurvey. More than 95% of the Air Quality Index days in 2023 were good air quality days, zero were unhealthy or hazardous days and only seven were moderate. The area also had no carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide or PM2.5 days year-round. These are days with high concentrations of these pollutants in the air.

Additionally, the area’s air quality index, a number calculated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is about 15. The lower the air quality index, the better the air quality.

Does Phoenix have poor air quality?

Metro Phoenix ranks 11th with the worst air quality in the U.S., just behind the Indianapolis, Denver and Detroit metros.

Phoenix and its neighboring cities earned an overall score of 38.87 out of 100. Only about a fifth of Phoenix’s Air Quality Index days last year were good air quality days, but more than half were moderate days, and another fifth were unhealthy for sensitive groups .

Metro Phoenix’s average air quality index is about 71, which is about 56 points higher than the Lake Havasu-Kingman metro area. The higher the index, the lower the air quality. Phoenix also had about 83 days in 2023 with high concentrations of carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, or PM2.5.

Laura Daniella Sepulveda is a trending reporter for the Arizona Republic. Reach her on Twitter at @lauradaniella_s or by email at [email protected].

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