Worst countries for air pollution – ranked

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A global ranking of the worst countries for air pollution, measured by the number of deaths per 100,000 people.

Map of the worst countries for air pollution
Map of the worst countries for air pollution (Our World
in Data / CC BY 4.0)

Air pollution is one of the world’s leading health and environmental problems and one of the world’s leading risk factors for death.

Typically, air pollution falls into two categories: indoor (or household) and outdoor air pollution.

Indoor air pollution is usually caused by burning solid fuels such as firewood, crop waste and dung for cooking and heating. This creates air pollution that causes respiratory diseases which often results in premature death.

Indoor air pollution is typically worse in poorer households.


Outdoor air pollution is typically worse in countries becoming industrialised and transitioning from low to middle incomes.

The ranking below is an aggregate of deaths from air pollution – both indoor and outdoor. The data and report are from Our World in Data.

10 best & worst countries for air pollution

Best countries

  1. Finland
  2. New Zealand
  3. Sweden
  4. Iceland
  5. Canada
  6. Australia
  7. Norway
  8. Japan
  9. Switzerland
  10. France

Worst countries

  1. Papua New Guinea
  2. Central African Rep.
  3. Solomon Islands
  4. Afghanistan
  5. Somalia
  6. Guinea-Bissau
  7. Guinea
  8. Chad
  9. South Sudan
  10. Madagascar

Key findings from the analysis

  • Air pollution is attributed to 5 million global deaths each year, representing 9% (nearly one-in-10) of all deaths globally.
  • This ranges from 2% across high-income countries, to nearly 15% across many countries in South and East Asia.
  • Globally, death rates from air pollution have been falling, mainly as a result of progress made with tackling indoor pollution.
  • Death rates tend to be highest across Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
  • Since 1990, the number of deaths per 100,000 people has nearly halved.
  • 95% of the world’s population is exposed to concentrations of particulate matter which exceed the WHO recommended limit of 10 micrograms per cubic meter.
  • Papua New Guinea has the highest death rate of 245.3 deaths per 100,000 people.
  • Finland has the lowest death rate of 8.5.
  • New Zealand is the highest-ranked country in Oceania in 2nd place, followed by Australia in 6th.
  • Japan is the highest-ranked Asian country in 8th place.
  • Canada is the highest-ranked country in the Americas in 5th place.
  • Seychelles is the highest-ranked African nation in 71st place.

Worst countries for air pollution – complete ranking

The table ranks the world’s countries and territories by the number of deaths per 100,000 people.


Some countries have been omitted due to insufficient data.

RankCountryDeath rate
1Finland8.5
2New Zealand8.6
3Sweden9.4
4Iceland9.9
5Canada10.7
6Australia10.8
7Norway10.9
8Japan11.4
9Switzerland11.7
10France11.8
11Spain14.5
12Ireland14.7
13Portugal15.5
14Andorra15.6
15Estonia15.7
16Luxembourg16
17Italy16.8
18Puerto Rico17
19Austria17.6
20Bermuda17.6
21UK17.8
22Netherlands18.6
23USA18.8
24Belgium19.1
25Denmark19.3
26Slovenia19.7
27Germany19.8
28Singapore20
29Brunei20.3
30Uruguay20.4
31Costa Rica21.2
32Israel21.3
33Panama21.3
34Maldives21.4
35South Korea21.7
36Colombia22.1
37Malta23.6
38Chile24.3
39Greece25.7
40Cyprus26
41Ecuador27.1
42Peru30.1
43Czech Rep.30.2
44Brazil30.3
45Argentina31.1
46Bahamas32.2
47Antigua & Barbuda32.4
48Cuba32.5
49Greenland32.7
50Taiwan32.7
51Thailand32.8
52Lithuania33.2
53Nicaragua33.4
54Croatia33.6
55Latvia34.3
56Poland34.3
57Venezuela34.7
58Kuwait34.8
59Barbados35.1
60Slovakia35.4
61Dominican Rep.37
62Dominica37.7
63Sri Lanka38.5
64Hungary39.2
65Saint Lucia39.2
66Jordan39.4
67Romania40.4
68Albania40.5
69Jamaica41.9
70Paraguay42
71Seychelles42.3
72Iraq42.7
73Russia42.7
74Algeria43.7
75Belize44.2
76Guam44.2
77Mexico44.4
78El Salvador45.9
79Iran46.2
80Caribbean46.4
81Turkey46.8
82Montenegro47.5
83Mauritius48.7
84Saint Vincent & Gren.48.7
85Suriname48.7
86Grenada49.2
87Lebanon49.8
88Moldova49.9
89Macedonia50
90Malaysia50.4
91Belarus50.7
92Cape Verde50.8
93Bulgaria51.4
94Honduras51.4
95Tunisia51.6
96Trinidad & Tobago51.8
97Kazakhstan52.1
98Palestine52.6
99Oman53.7
100Bolivia53.9
101South Africa57.9
102Bosnia & Herz.58.1
103Vietnam60.3
104Qatar61.8
105Serbia62.6
106Bahrain62.9
107Guyana63.1
108Ukraine63.9
109Saudi Arabia64.1
110Syria64.2
111Armenia64.8
112Guatemala66
113Indonesia66.2
114Morocco67.3
115Turkmenistan67.3
116Botswana69.8
117Kyrgyzstan70.2
118Georgia70.5
119Tonga70.7
120Gabon72.1
121China72.7
122Libya72.8
123Bhutan73.1
124Namibia75.6
125Samoa76.8
126UAE77.8
127Equatorial Guinea78.4
128Azerbaijan80.2
129Djibouti80.7
130Nigeria81.2
131Mongolia81.6
132Mauritania83.8
133Ethiopia88.8
134Micronesia90.2
135Kenya90.3
136Marshall Islands93
137Uganda93.7
138Comoros94
139Tajikistan94.3
140Angola95.2
141Sudan95.7
142Tanzania96.5
143Yemen96.5
144Rwanda97.1
145Timor97.7
146Zambia98.9
147Fiji100.6
148Malawi104.9
149Uzbekistan105.1
150Ghana105.4
151Senegal106.1
152Swaziland106.3
153Philippines106.9
154Mali107.1
155Cambodia108
156Bangladesh108.5
157Sao Tome & Principe110.1
158Congo113
159Benin113.2
160Liberia113.2
161Egypt113.4
162Cameroon114
163Togo115.2
164Myanmar118.1
165Cote d’Ivoire118.8
166Laos119.7
167Haiti121.4
168Pakistan123.2
169Zimbabwe125
170Mozambique125.9
171India132
172Eritrea132.7
173Burkina Faso133.2
174Nepal133.3
175Gambia134.4
176Niger138.5
177Vanuatu139.7
178North Korea140.4
179DR Congo142.7
180Burundi142.8
181Sierra Leone149.6
182Lesotho152
183Kiribati153.7
184Madagascar155.1
185South Sudan156.2
186Chad159.1
187Guinea160.5
188Guinea-Bissau161.8
189Somalia165.8
190Afghanistan183.9
191Solomon Islands187.3
192Central African Rep.199.7
193Papua New Guinea245.3

Source: Our World in Data