The 50 Cleanest Cities in the World

These major cities have really got their act together.

The 50 Cleanest Cities in the World
circle

If you enjoy clean air and clean streets (who doesn’t?), sometimes big cities can be stress-inducing—all that smog, noise, and people packed into tight spaces is enough to make any neat freak flip out.

But it turns out that not all big cities are dirty.

We analyzed data for the 200 largest cities in the world to pinpoint the ones that are the absolute squeaky cleanest. Our data drew on air pollution levels (including particles of 10 micrometers in diameter or less and 2.5 micrometers or less), according to the World Health Organization, the quality-of-living rank according to global consultancy Mercer (Ed Note: Not every city has a Mercer rank), and the home country’s Environmental Performance Score, according to Yale, Columbia, and the World Economic Forum.

In addition to those figures, we factored in on-the-ground, anecdotal evidence on the part of our well-traveled editorial staff and threw in bonus points if any of these locations earned a spot on Monocle’s Quality of Living index. With that in mind, here are the 50 cleanest cities in the world.

50
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

rio de janeiro city names Cleanest Cities in the world

Population: 6,429,923
Air pollution (PM10): 49
Air pollution (PM2.5): 16
Mercer Quality of Living Rank: 118
Environmental Performance Score: 60.7
Clean City Score: 47.70

49
Seoul, South Korea

Seoul Cleanest Cities in the world

Population: 10,197,604
Air pollution (PM10): 46
Air pollution (PM2.5): 24
Mercer Quality of Living Rank: 76
Environmental Performance Score: 62.3
Clean City Score: 48.25

48
Daegu, South Korea

Daegu, South Korea cleanest cities in the world

Population: 2,492,994
Air pollution (PM10): 45
Air pollution (PM2.5): 24
Environmental Performance Score: 62.3
Clean City Score: 48.56

47
Caracas, Venezuela

Caracas, Venezuela cleanest cities in the world

Population: 1,943,901
Air pollution (PM10): 47
Air pollution (PM2.5): 25
Mercer Quality of Living Rank: 189
Environmental Performance Score: 63.89
Clean City Score: 49.40

46
Kwangju, South Korea

Kwangju, South Korea Cleanest Cities in the world

Population: 1,477,780
Air pollution (PM10): 41
Air pollution (PM2.5): 22
Environmental Performance Score: 62.3
Clean City Score: 49.70

45
Daejeon, South Korea

Daejeon, South Korea Cleanest Cities in the world

Population: 1,535,028
Air pollution (PM10): 41
Air pollution (PM2.5): 22
Environmental Performance Score: 62.3
Clean City Score: 49.78

44
São Paulo, Brazil

São Paulo, Brazil Cleanest Cities in the world


Population: 12,038,175
Air pollution (PM10): 35
Air pollution (PM2.5): 19
Mercer Quality of Living Rank: 121
Environmental Performance Score: 60.7
Clean City Score: 49.90

43
Bogotá, Colombia

Bogotá, Colombia Cleanest Cities in the world

Population: 7,878,783
Air pollution (PM10): 52
Air pollution (PM2.5): 24
Mercer Quality of Living Rank: 129
Environmental Performance Score: 65.22
Clean City Score: 50.04

42
Medellin, Colombia

Medellin, Colombia Cleanest Cities in the world

Population: 2,441,123
Air pollution (PM10): 45
Air pollution (PM2.5): 26
Environmental Performance Score: 65.22
Clean City Score: 50.91

41
Davao City, Philippines

Davao City, Philippines Cleanest Cities in the world

Population: 1,632,991
Air pollution (PM10): 21
Air pollution (PM2.5): 11
Environmental Performance Score: 57.65
Clean City Score: 51.24

40
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires, Argentina Cleanest Cities in the world

Population: 3,054,300
Air pollution (PM10): 26
Air pollution (PM2.5): 14
Mercer Quality of Living Rank: 93
Environmental Performance Score: 59.3
Clean City Score: 51.24

39
Porto Alegre, Brazil

Porto Alegre, Brazil Cleanest Cities in the world

Population: 1,476,867
Air pollution (PM10): 29
Air pollution (PM2.5): 13
Environmental Performance Score: 60.7
Clean City Score: 52.30

38
Warsaw, Poland

Warsaw Poland Cleanest Cities in the world

Population: 1,753,977
Air pollution (PM10): 33
Air pollution (PM2.5): 26
Mercer Quality of Living Rank: 81
Environmental Performance Score: 64.11
Clean City Score: 52.31

37
 Alexandria, Egypt

 Alexandria, Egypt Cleanest Cities in the world

Population: 4,616,625
Air pollution (PM10): 23
Air pollution (PM2.5): 17
Environmental Performance Score: 61.21
Clean City Score: 53.26

36
Moscow, Russia

Moscow, Russia Cleanest Cities in the world

Population: 12,197,596
Air pollution (PM10): 33
Air pollution (PM2.5): 20
Mercer Quality of Living Rank: 168
Environmental Performance Score: 63.79
Clean City Score: 53.33

35
Cali, Colombia

Cali, Colombia Cleanest Cities in the world

Population: 2,400,653
Air pollution (PM10): 41
Air pollution (PM2.5): 17
Environmental Performance Score: 65.22
Clean City Score: 53.53

34
Curitiba, Brazil

Curitiba, Brazil Cleanest Cities in the world

Population: 1,879,355
Air pollution (PM10): 24
Air pollution (PM2.5): 11
Environmental Performance Score: 60.7
Clean City Score: 53.62

33
Bucharest, Romania

Bucharest, Romania Cleanest Cities in the world

Population: 1,883,425
Air pollution (PM10): 31
Air pollution (PM2.5): 23
Mercer Quality of Living Rank: 107
Environmental Performance Score: 64.78
Clean City Score: 54.04

32
Budapest, Hungary

Budapest, Hungary Cleanest Cities in the world

Population: 1,759,407
Air pollution (PM10): 29
Air pollution (PM2.5): 25
Mercer Quality of Living Rank: 78
Environmental Performance Score: 65.01
Clean City Score: 54.21

31
Singapore

Singapore Cleanest Cities in the world

Population: 5,535,000
Air pollution (PM10): 30
Air pollution (PM2.5): 18
Mercer Quality of Living Rank: 25
Environmental Performance Score: 64.23
Monocle Quality of Life Rank: 21
Clean City Score: 54.63

30
Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Kaohsiung, Taiwan Cleanest Cities in the world

Population: 2,778,918
Air pollution (PM10): 46
Air pollution (PM2.5): 30
Environmental Performance Score: 72.84
Clean City Score: 57.70

29
Tainan, Taiwan

Tainan, Taiwan Cleanest Cities in the world

Population: 1,885,252
Air pollution (PM10): 44
Air pollution (PM2.5): 29
Environmental Performance Score: 72.84
Clean City Score: 58.16

28
Taichung, Taiwan

Taichung, Taiwan Cleanest Cities in the world

Population: 2,752,413
Air pollution (PM10): 44
Air pollution (PM2.5): 29
Mercer Quality of Living Rank: 101
Environmental Performance Score: 72.84
Clean City Score: 58.29

27
New Taipei City, Taiwan

New Taipei City, Taiwan Cleanest Cities in the world

Population: 3,954,929
Air pollution (PM10): 28
Air pollution (PM2.5): 19
Environmental Performance Score: 72.84
Clean City Score: 63.44

26
Taipei, Taiwan

Taipei, Taiwan Cleanest Cities in the world

Population: 2,704,974
Air pollution (PM10): 28
Air pollution (PM2.5): 19
Mercer Quality of Living Rank: 85
Environmental Performance Score: 72.84
Clean City Score: 63.45

25
Fukuoka, Japan

Fukuoka, Japan Cleanest Cities in the world

Population: 1,483,052
Air pollution (PM10): 35
Air pollution (PM2.5): 19
Environmental Performance Score: 74.69
Monocle Quality of Life Rank: 14
Clean City Score: 63.89

24
Chicago, United States

Chicago cleanest cities in the world

Population: 2,695,598
Air pollution (PM10): 22
Air pollution (PM2.5): 12
Mercer Quality of Living Rank: 47
Environmental Performance Score: 71.19
Clean City Score: 64.39

23
Osaka, Japan

Osaka, Japan Cleanest Cities in the world

Population: 2,691,742
Air pollution (PM10): 32
Air pollution (PM2.5): 17
Mercer Quality of Living Ran: 60
Environmental Performance Score: 74.69
Clean City Score: 64.89

22
Los Angeles, United States

Los Angeles, cleanest cities in the world

Population: 3,884,307
Air pollution (PM10): 20
Air pollution (PM2.5): 11
Mercer Quality of Living Rank: 58
Environmental Performance Score: 71.19
Clean City Score: 64.99

21
Houston, United States

Houston, cleanest cities in the world

Population: 2,489,558
Air pollution (PM10): 19
Air pollution (PM2.5): 10
Mercer Quality of Living Rank: 67
Environmental Performance Score: 71.19
Clean City Score: 65.39

20
Nagoya, Japan

Nagoya, Japan Cleanest Cities in the world

Population: 2,296,014
Air pollution (PM10): 30
Air pollution (PM2.5): 16
Mercer Quality of Living Rank: 63
Environmental Performance Score: 74.69
Clean City Score: 65.49

19
Philadelphia, United States

Philadelphia Cleanest Cities in the world

Population: 1,567,872
Air pollution (PM10): 19
Air pollution (PM2.5): 9
Mercer Quality of Living Rank: 56
Environmental Performance Score: 71.19
Clean City Score: 65.59

18
 Yokohama, Japan

Yokohama, Japan Cleanest Cities in the world

Population: 3,726,167
Air pollution (PM10): 29
Air pollution (PM2.5): 15
Mercer Quality of Living Rank: 51
Environmental Performance Score: 74.69
Clean City Score: 65.89

17
Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto, Japan Cleanest Cities in the world

Population: 1,474,570
Air pollution (PM10): 28
Air pollution (PM2.5): 15
Environmental Performance Score: 74.69
Monocle Quality of Life Rank: 12
Clean City Score: 66.05

16
Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan cleanest cities in the world

Population: 13,513,734
Air pollution (PM10): 28
Air pollution (PM2.5): 15
Mercer Quality of Living Rank: 47
Environmental Performance Score: 74.69
Monocle Quality of Life Rank: 1
Clean City Score: 70.09

15
Phoenix, United States

Phoenix,Cleanest Cities in the world

Population: 1,563,025
Air pollution (PM10): 16
Air pollution (PM2.5): 9
Environmental Performance Score: 71.19
Clean City Score: 66.19

14
Montreal, Canada

montreal city names Montreal cleanest cities in the world

Population: 1,649,519
Air pollution (PM10): 16
Air pollution (PM2.5): 10
Mercer Quality of Living Rank: 23
Environmental Performance Score: 72.18
Clean City Score: 67.02

13
Toronto, Canada

Toronto cleanest cities in the world

Population: 2,731,571
Air pollution (PM10): 14
Air pollution (PM2.5): 8
Mercer Quality of Living Rank: 16
Environmental Performance Score: 72.18
Clean City Score: 67.63

12
Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy Cleanest Cities in the world

Population: 2,877,215
Air pollution (PM10): 28
Air pollution (PM2.5): 17
Mercer Quality of Living Rank: 57
Environmental Performance Score: 76.96
Clean City Score: 67.96

11
Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne, Australia Cleanest Cities in the world

Population: 135,959
Air pollution (PM10): 19
Air pollution (PM2.5): 8
Mercer Quality of Living Rank: 16
Environmental Performance Score: 74.12
Clean City Score: 68.83

10
Sapporo, Japan

Sapporo, Japan Cleanest Cities in the world

Population: 1,918,096
Air pollution (PM10): 19
Air pollution (PM2.5): 10
Environmental Performance Score: 74.69
Clean City Score: 68.89

9
Vienna, Austria

Vienna, Austria Cleanest Cities in the world

Population: 1,863,881
Air pollution (PM10): 26
Air pollution (PM2.5): 18
Mercer Quality of Living Rank: 1
Environmental Performance Score: 78.97
Monocle Quality of Life Rank: 2
Clean City Score: 70.17

8
Berlin, Germany

Berlin, Germany Cleanest Cities in the world

Population: 3,517,424
Air pollution (PM10): 24
Air pollution (PM2.5): 16
Mercer Quality of Living Rank: 13
Environmental Performance Score: 78.37
Monocle Quality of Life Rank: 3
Clean City Score: 70.28

7
Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, Spain Cleanest Cities in the world

Population: 1,604,555
Air pollution (PM10): 24
Air pollution (PM2.5): 15
Mercer Quality of Living Rank: 42
Environmental Performance Score: 78.39
Monocle Quality of Life Rank: 17
Clean City Score: 70.46

6
Hamburg, Germany

Hamburg, Germany Cleanest Cities in the world

Population: 1,787,408
Air pollution (PM10): 21
Air pollution (PM2.5): 14
Mercer Quality of Living Rank: 19
Environmental Performance Score: 78.37
Monocle Quality of Life Rank: 9
Clean City Score: 71.32

5
Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland, New Zealand Cleanest Cities in the world

Population: 1,495,000
Air pollution (PM10): 14
Air pollution (PM2.5): 6
Mercer Quality of Living Rank: 3
Environmental Performance Score: 75.96
Clean City Score: 71.97

4
Madrid, Spain

Madrid, Spain Cleanest Cities in the world

Population: 3,207,247
Air pollution (PM10): 19
Air pollution (PM2.5): 10
Mercer Quality of Living Rank: 51
Environmental Performance Score: 78.39
Monocle Quality of Life Rank: 10
Clean City Score: 72.66

3
New York City, United States

New York City, United States Cleanest Cities in the world

Population: 8,537,673
Air pollution (PM10): 16
Air pollution (PM2.5): 9
Mercer Quality of Living Rank: 44
Environmental Performance Score: 79.89
Clean City Score: 74.89

2
Paris, France

Paris, France Cleanest Cities in the world

Population: 2,229,621
Air pollution (PM10): 28
Air pollution (PM2.5): 18
Mercer Quality of Living Rank: 38
Environmental Performance Score: 83.95
Clean City Score: 74.90

1
London, United Kingdom

London, United Kingdom Cleanest Cities in the world

Population: 8,787,892
Air pollution (PM10): 16
Air pollution (PM2.5): 9
Mercer Quality of Living Rank: 40
Environmental Performance Score: 79.89
Clean City Score: 74.94

After admiring every cleanest city in the world, be sure to also be aware of these 25 Countries Where You Shouldn’t Drink the Tap Water.

To discover more amazing secrets about living your best life, click here to follow us on Instagram!

Filed Under
Best Life
Live smarter, look better,​ and live your life to the absolute fullest.
Get Our Newsletter Every Day!
Enter your email address to get the best tips and advice.
close modal
close modal
GET YOUR FREE GIFT
SUBSCRIBE