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World Air Quality Report

PM2.5 legend


Meets WHO guideline


Exceeds by 1 to 2 times


Exceeds by 2 to 3 times


Exceeds by 3 to 5 times


Exceeds by 5 to 7 times


Exceeds by 7 to 10 times


Exceeds by over 10 times

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About this report

The 2022 World Air Quality Report reviews the status of air quality around the world for the year 2022. This report presents PM2.5 air quality data from 7,323 cities across 131 countries, regions, and territories. The data used in this report was aggregated from over 30,000 regulatory air quality monitoring stations and low-cost air quality sensors. These monitoring stations and sensors are operated by governmental bodies, research institutions, non-profit non-governmental organizations, universities and educational facilities, private companies, and citizen scientists across the globe.

The PM2.5 data in this report is measured in units of micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3) and incorporates the 2021 World Health Organization (WHO) air quality guidelines and interim targets as a basis for data visualization and risk communication.

The air quality data utilized in the 2022 World Air Quality Report was sourced from IQAir’s real-time online air quality monitoring platform which validates, calibrates, and harmonizes air quality data from monitoring stations located around the world.

Further historic air quality data sorted by city, country, and region can be found on the IQAir website, including an interactive map featuring annual city concentrations and global rankings of annual air quality for the 7,323 global cities included in this report.

IQAir aims to engage, inform, and inspire governments, educators, researchers, non-profit organizations, companies, and citizens to build collaborative efforts to increase air quality awareness. IQAir seeks to facilitate an informed dialogue and inspires action that improves air quality and the health of global communities and cities.

Executive Summary

Air pollution continues to be the world’s largest environmental health threat. Worldwide, poor air quality accounts for 93 billion days lived with illness and over six million deaths each year. The total economic cost equates to over $8 trillion dollars, surpassing 6.1 percent of the global annual GDP.1 Exposure to air pollution causes and aggravates several health conditions which include, but are not limited to, asthma, cancer, lung illnesses, heart disease, and premature mortality.2

Air pollution most severely impacts already vulnerable populations. More than 90% of pollution related deaths occur in low-income and middle-income countries.3 Children under 18 years old, pregnant women, and older adults all have increased risk of developing or worsening health conditions from air pollution exposure.4

Data for the World Air Quality Report was aggregated from measurements taken from over 30,000 global air quality monitoring stations. Hourly averaged data from both government-operated regulatory instrumentation and non-government operated, ground-based air quality monitors was collected and aggregated over the course of a year and used as the basis for the content of the report.

In 2021, this report included data from 6,475 locations in 117 countries, territories, and regions. In 2022, these numbers have expanded to now include 7,323 locations in 131 countries, territories, and regions. The coverage for the continent of Africa expanded significantly, with the inclusion of seven additional countries in 2022. Despite the expansion, density of coverage remains extremely scarce. While this report contains data from over 30,000 air quality monitoring stations, only 156 stations produced all the included data for the continent of Africa, home to this year’s most polluted country in the world, Chad. With the only real-time, publicly available source of air quality data for the entire country of Chad being provided by a single air quality monitor in the city of N’Djamena, this year the spotlight on global air quality data coverage disparities shines bright on the continent of Africa.

In 2022, 13 out of the 131 countries and regions included in this report have succeeded in achieving PM2.5 concentrations at or below the WHO guideline for annual PM2.5 concentrations of 5 μg/m3. Much work has been done to combat air pollution; however, as evidenced by this report, there is still a long road ahead to ensure environmental equality. Citizens in only ten percent of the global countries, regions and territories are breathing air that does not pose a risk to their health as indicated by the WHO.


[1] The World Bank. The global health cost of PM2.5 air pollution: A case for action beyond 2021. Washington, DC: World Bank License: Creative Commons Attribution CC BY 3.0 IGO; 2022.

[2] Zehnder C, Manoylov K, Mutiti S, et al. Introduction to environmental science: 2nd edition. Biological Sciences Open Textbooks. Published 2018.

[3] Fuller R, Landrigan PJ, Balakrishnan K. Pollution and health: A progress update. The Lancet Planetary Health. 2022: 6, (6), E535-E547. doi: 10.1016/S2542-5196(22)00090-0

[4] United States Environmental Protection Agency. Which populations experience greater risks of adverse health effects resulting from wildfire smoke exposure? Environmental Protection Agency. Published October 20, 2022.

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