The 50 Cleanest Cities in the World

These major cities have really got their act together.

The 50 Cleanest Cities in the World
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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.

rio de janeiro city names Cleanest Cities in the world

50
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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

Seoul Cleanest Cities in the world

49
Seoul, South Korea

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

Daegu, South Korea cleanest cities in the world

48
Daegu, South Korea

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

Caracas, Venezuela cleanest cities in the world

47
Caracas, Venezuela

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

Kwangju, South Korea Cleanest Cities in the world

46
Kwangju, South Korea

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

Daejeon, South Korea Cleanest Cities in the world

45
Daejeon, South Korea

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

São Paulo, Brazil Cleanest Cities in the world

44
São Paulo, Brazil


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

Bogotá, Colombia Cleanest Cities in the world

43
Bogotá, Colombia

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

Medellin, Colombia Cleanest Cities in the world

42
Medellin, Colombia

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

Davao City, Philippines Cleanest Cities in the world

41
Davao City, Philippines

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

Buenos Aires, Argentina Cleanest Cities in the world

40
Buenos Aires, Argentina

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

Porto Alegre, Brazil Cleanest Cities in the world

39
Porto Alegre, Brazil

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

Warsaw Poland Cleanest Cities in the world

38
Warsaw, Poland

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

 Alexandria, Egypt Cleanest Cities in the world

37
 Alexandria, Egypt

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

Moscow, Russia Cleanest Cities in the world

36
Moscow, Russia

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

Cali, Colombia Cleanest Cities in the world

35
Cali, Colombia

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

Curitiba, Brazil Cleanest Cities in the world

34
Curitiba, Brazil

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

Bucharest, Romania Cleanest Cities in the world

33
Bucharest, Romania

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

Budapest, Hungary Cleanest Cities in the world

32
Budapest, Hungary

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

Singapore Cleanest Cities in the world

31
Singapore

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

Kaohsiung, Taiwan Cleanest Cities in the world

30
Kaohsiung, Taiwan

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

Tainan, Taiwan Cleanest Cities in the world

29
Tainan, Taiwan

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

Taichung, Taiwan Cleanest Cities in the world

28
Taichung, Taiwan

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

New Taipei City, Taiwan Cleanest Cities in the world

27
New Taipei City, Taiwan

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

Taipei, Taiwan Cleanest Cities in the world

26
Taipei, Taiwan

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

Fukuoka, Japan Cleanest Cities in the world

25
Fukuoka, Japan

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

Chicago cleanest cities in the world

24
Chicago, United States

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

Osaka, Japan Cleanest Cities in the world

23
Osaka, Japan

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

Los Angeles, cleanest cities in the world

22
Los Angeles, United States

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

Houston, cleanest cities in the world

21
Houston, United States

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

Nagoya, Japan Cleanest Cities in the world

20
Nagoya, Japan

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

Philadelphia Cleanest Cities in the world

19
Philadelphia, United States

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

Yokohama, Japan Cleanest Cities in the world

18
 Yokohama, Japan

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

Kyoto, Japan Cleanest Cities in the world

17
Kyoto, Japan

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

Tokyo, Japan cleanest cities in the world

16
Tokyo, Japan

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

Phoenix,Cleanest Cities in the world

15
Phoenix, United States

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

montreal city names Montreal cleanest cities in the world

14
Montreal, Canada

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

Toronto cleanest cities in the world

13
Toronto, Canada

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

Rome, Italy Cleanest Cities in the world

12
Rome, Italy

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

Melbourne, Australia Cleanest Cities in the world

11
Melbourne, Australia

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

Sapporo, Japan Cleanest Cities in the world

10
Sapporo, Japan

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

Vienna, Austria Cleanest Cities in the world

9
Vienna, Austria

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

Berlin, Germany Cleanest Cities in the world

8
Berlin, Germany

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

Barcelona, Spain Cleanest Cities in the world

7
Barcelona, Spain

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

Hamburg, Germany Cleanest Cities in the world

6
Hamburg, Germany

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

Auckland, New Zealand Cleanest Cities in the world

5
Auckland, New Zealand

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

Madrid, Spain Cleanest Cities in the world

4
Madrid, Spain

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

New York City, United States Cleanest Cities in the world

3
New York City, United States

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

Paris, France Cleanest Cities in the world

2
Paris, France

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

London, United Kingdom Cleanest Cities in the world

1
London, United Kingdom

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.

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