Oklahoma and Tulsa get failing grades in newest State of the Air report from Lung Association


The American Lung Association’s annual “State of the Air” report for 2024 claims 39% of Americans still live in places with failing grades for unhealthy air conditions and that includes residents of Oklahoma City and Tulsa.

Many might think the constant winds that sweep across the state would prevent much air pollution, but the report would suggest otherwise.

Oklahoma and Tulsa Counties eached received an F or failing grade in the report. Osage County wasn’t far from a failing grade as it received a D.

County Grade Wgt. Avg. Orange Days Red Days Purple Days
Adair B 0.7 2 0 0
Canadian C 2.0 6 0 0
Cleveland C 1.0 3 0 0
Comanche B 0.7 2 0 0
Creek C 1.0 3 0 0
Dewey C 1.0 3 0 0
Mayes B 0.3 1 0 0
Oklahoma F 3.3 10 0 0
Osage D 2.7 5 2 0
Ottawa C 2.0 6 0 0
Pittsburg C 1.0 3 0 0
Sequoyah B 0.3 1 0 0
Tulsa F 5.8 13 3 0

Still, Oklahoma and Tulsa Counties were not considered to be among the 30 worst counties for air pollution. Many of those were in California.

Arizona Maricopa, Pinal

Alameda, Butte, Contra Costa, Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, Madera, Merced, Orange, Placer, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Clara, Shasta,  Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Tulare
Colorado Denver
Michigan Wayne
Nevada Clark, Washoe
New Mexico Bernalillo
Utah Salt Lake

As for the most polluted cities, 14 out of the top 25 are in California, 3 are in Colorado, and 2 are in Texas.

The 39% who live in places with failing grades represent 131.2 million people. The Lung Association report stated that despite decades of progress cleaning up air pollution, there are 11.7 million more people breathing unhealth air compared to last year’s report.


more than one in three

Nearly 4 in 10 people in America live in places with unhealthy levels of air pollution.

The significant rise in the number of individuals whose health is at risk is the result of a combination of factors. Extreme heat, drought and wildfires are contributing to a steady increase in deadly particle pollution, especially in the western U.S. Also, this year’s “State of the Air” report is using EPA’s new, more protective national air quality standard for year-round levels of fine particle pollution, which allows for the recognition that many more people are breathing unhealthy air than was acknowledged under the previous weak standard.

Again this year, “State of the Air” finds that the burden of living with unhealthy air is not shared equally. Although people of color make up 41.6% of the overall population of the U.S., they are 52% of the people living in a county with at least one failing grade. In the counties with the worst air quality that get failing grades for all three measures of air pollution, 63% of the nearly 44 million residents are people of color, compared to 37% who are white.

Circle graphic with 3.6X overlayed.

People of color were 2.3 times as likely as white people to live in a county with 3 failing grades.

The “State of the Air” report looks at two of the most widespread and dangerous air pollutants, fine particles and ozone. The air quality data used in the report are collected at official monitoring sites across the United States by the federal, state, local and Tribal governments. The Lung Association calculates values reflecting the air pollution problem and assigns grades for daily and long-term measures of particle pollution and daily measures of ozone. Those values are also used to rank cities (metropolitan areas) and counties. This year’s report presents data from 2020, 2021 and 2022, the most recent quality-assured nationwide air pollution data publicly available. See About This Report for more detail about the methodology for data collection and analysis.

The report suggested that people who live in counties with failing grades, i.e. Oklahoma and Tulsa, are more at risk for Asthma, COPD, lung cancer and cariovascular disease.

More than 55,000 people diagnosed with lung cancer in 2020 live in counties that received an F for at least one pollutant, and about 15,200 people diagnosed with lung cancer live in counties failing all three measures.

A list of the cleanest U.S. cities by air pollution did not include any in Oklahoma. The closest such clean city was the Amarillo-Pampa-Border region to the west of Oklahoma in the Texas Panhandle while to the east, the cleanest was Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Arkansas.

Cleanest U.S. Cities by Ozone Air Pollution Top 25 Cleanest U.S. Cities by Year-round Particle Pollution Cleanest U.S. Cities by Short-term Particle Pollution
Albany-Schenectady, NY
Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC
Bangor, ME
Bellingham, WA
Blacksburg-Christiansburg, VA
Bowling Green-Glasgow, KY
Brownsville-Harlingen-Raymondville, TX
Brunswick, GA
Burlington-South Burlington-Barre, VT
Cape Coral-Fort Myers-Naples, FL
Charleston-Huntington-Ashland, WV-OH-KY
Charleston-North Charleston, SC
Charlottesville, VA
Clarksville, TN-KY
Cleveland-Indianola, MS
Columbia-Moberly-Mexico, MO
Columbus-Auburn-Opelika, GA-AL
Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, FL
Des Moines-Ames-West Des Moines, IA
Duluth, MN-WI
Eau Claire-Menomonie, WI
Elmira-Corning, NY
Erie-Meadville, PA
Fairbanks, AK
Florence, SC
Gadsden, AL
Gainesville-Lake City, FL
Greensboro-Winston-Salem-High Point, NC
Harrisonburg-Staunton, VA
Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC
Jackson-Vicksburg-Brookhaven, MS
Jacksonville-St. Marys-Palatka, FL-GA
Jefferson City, MO
Johnson City-Kingsport-Bristol, TN-VA
La Crosse-Onalaska, WI-MN
Lansing-East Lansing, MI
Laredo, TX
Lincoln-Beatrice, NE
Mayaguez-San German, PR
Missoula, MT
Mobile-Daphne-Fairhope, AL
Monroe-Ruston, LA
Montgomery-Selma-Alexander City, AL
Morgantown-Fairmont, WV
Myrtle Beach-Conway, SC-NC
New Bern-Morehead City, NC
North Port-Sarasota, FL
Orlando-Lakeland-Deltona, FL
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL
Panama City, FL
Pittsfield, MA
Quincy-Hannibal, IL-MO
Roanoke, VA
Rochester-Austin, MN
Rocky Mount-Wilson-Roanoke Rapids, NC
Salinas, CA
San Juan-Bayamón, PR
Savannah-Hinesville-Statesboro, GA
Scottsboro-Fort Payne, AL
Scranton-Wilkes-Barre, PA
Sebring-Avon Park, FL
Springfield, MO
State College-DuBois, PA
Syracuse-Auburn, NY
Tallahassee, FL
Tupelo-Corinth, MS
Tuscaloosa, AL
Urban Honolulu, HI
Victoria-Port Lavaca, TX
Waco, TX
Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA
Watertown-Fort Drum, NY
Wausau-Stevens Point-Wisconsin Rapids, WI
Williamsport-Lock Haven, PA
Wilmington, NC