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The Best and Worst Places to Live with COPD

25 Mar 2016
| Under COPD, Lifestyle, Lung Disease | Posted by | 44 Comments
Best and Worst Places to Live with COPD

Is Your Hometown COPD Friendly?

There is more than just air quality to study when considering if your town is friendly to someone living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The best and worst places to live with COPD are judged based on the availability of hospitals and pulmonary rehabilitation programs. Of course, air quality is up there too.

Worst Cities to Live in with COPD

Best and Worst Places to Live with COPD

5. Louisville, Kentucky

Louisville ranks high on the Environmental Protection Agency’s list of most polluted cities. The number of hospitals and rehabilitation centers holds the city slightly better on the list than others, but the climate shift from summer to winter is not good for COPD sufferers. Cold weather effects symptom flareups and particle pollution increases due to wood burning for heat.

4. Bakersfield, California

Bakersfield and the surrounding cities of Los Angeles have some of the most polluted air in the United States. The EPA regularly ranks Bakersfield among the worst for having the most short-term and year-long particle pollution in the air.

3. Fresno, California

Fresno has a similar climate to Bakersfield. It joins many other cities in California known for polluted air. The San Joaquin Valley is a natural trap for air pollution and it sits, lingering for long periods of time.  There are not many hospitals or rehabilitation centers, which leaves Fresno among the worst cities for COPD.

2. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburg has a very bad climate for COPD. The cold winters can cause symptom flare-ups. The air is among the most polluted in the United States as well. There are a good number of hospitals and rehabilitation centers in Pittsburgh, which is a positive given the need, however.

1. Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham’s pollution is very high for a relatively small metropolitan area. Nearly 100,000 people in the area have COPD. Unfortunately, there are not many hospitals in the region and pulmonary rehabilitation programs are scarce. This makes Birmingham the worst city to live in if you have COPD.

Best Cities to Live in with COPD

Best and Worst Places to Live with COPD

5. St. George, Utah

A low amount of pollution and dry climate make a great combination for COPD patients. Also, St. George boasts the very low COPD rate of 3 percent. In addition, Intermountain Healthcare operates a pulmonary rehabilitation clinic in the area.

4. Cheyenne, Wyoming

It would not be a bad idea to head south for the winter if you have COPD and live in Wyoming, but the clean air is well worth living there.  The EPA ranked Cheyenne as having the second cleanest air in the United States. Having a good number of medical centers makes Cheyenne number 4 on the list.

3. Naples, Florida

This area of Southwest Florida is quickly growing. The weather is cool in the winters and, although quite warm in the summer, being close to the Gulf of Mexico makes for a breezy escape from the heat. The EPA ranked Naples in the top 20 cleanest cities and a large number of medical and rehabilitation centers also add to the allure for COPD patients.

2. Prescott, Arizona

Prescott tops the EPA’s list as having the cleanest air in the United States. Just outside of Flagstaff, this city offers a limited number of hospitals and rehabilitation centers, but the clean air makes up for it. Prescott has a climate that may fluctuate throughout the day, but is neither too hot nor too cold.

1. Fayetteville, Arkansas

The best place in the Unites States to live with COPD is Fayetteville, Arkansas. This community offers a lot of support for COPD patients, like multiple hospitals and rehabilitation centers, and even a community outreach program. The EPA ranks the cleanliness of the air as high and the climate is agreeable for COPD patients.

Living with COPD is difficult. Managing the symptoms of a lung disease depends on more than just medication. Increase the success of your COPD treatments by making sure that you live in an area that will compliment your efforts.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with COPD, and you’re interested in learning more about stem cell therapy, contact the Lung Institute or call  (800) 729-3065 today.



  1. Matt

    1 week ago

    Hello Patty,
    Thank you for your question. It is true that living in a higher altitude can be more challenging for someone with COPD than it would be at sea level. But this list was compiled factoring a city’s year-round particle air pollution and the number of pulmonary rehab programs and hospitals. Thanks again and have a great day.

  2. Patty

    2 weeks ago

    I’m surprised Cheyenne, WY is on the list for best places. Isn’t the high elevation really bad for someone with COPD?

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  4. Mark prideaux

    2 months ago

    I have COPD and I’ll let you know if Las Vegas will be a bad place for me to

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  6. PB

    8 months ago

    Hello Bob,

    Thanks for your question. We have found the American Lung Association’s State of the Air Report helpful in learning more about the air quality in various cities, counties and states. If you’re interested in reading more about Arkansas, click here. We also recommend discussing air quality with your doctor to gain his or her insights.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  7. Bob

    9 months ago

    I read that Fayetteville, Arkansas is a good place to live if you have COPD. Is this true?

  8. Brian

    9 months ago

    I would like to submit a correction to my statement…. I was looking at the ozone factors by mistake. Not the particles column which I intended at the beginning.. My apologizes!

  9. Brian

    9 months ago

    According to the American Lung Association, Fayetteville ARK (Washington county) gets an BIG F…… so this list is bogus…. or out of date….

  10. PB

    9 months ago

    Dear Lila,

    Thanks for your comment. Before moving, it’s important to discuss moving, places your considering moving to, and what doctors and hospitals are nearby that your doctors could recommend. Because your doctors know you and your health situation well, they can guide you in the best direction for you. You can also learn more about the air quality of different places, such as the locations where you are considering moving to, by looking them up on the American Lung Association’s State of the Air Report. This report gives a report about the air quality of various counties and cities in the United States. We hope you find this helpful, and we wish you the best.

    Kind Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  11. PB

    9 months ago

    Dear Lisa,

    Thanks for your comment. We’re sorry to hear that you’ve been going through such a difficult time with COPD. Like you, many people with COPD find certain climates either worsen their COPD symptoms or improve them. It’s important to discuss your symptoms and any questions or concerns you have with your doctor, including any possible changes such as moving to a different place. However, to help you learn more about the places you’re considering moving to, we recommend reading the American Lung Association’s State of the Air Report. You can search for specific counties and cities, and you can read the air quality report for them on the State of the Air Report. We hope this is helpful, and please feel free to contact us if you have any questions regarding stem cell treatment options at (855) 313-1149.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  12. Lisa

    9 months ago

    I am a 60 y/o female with severe COPD due to years of smoking. I am a retired RN and should have known better, but it is too late now. On O2 continuously.Live in east Texas all my life, but am looking into moving somewhere with cooler climate summers without all this humidity and heat if I have the strength. I have read the “dew point” should be low for the air to be easier for us w/ COPD and I dont know where that would be for the summer. I do much better in cold weather.But will move anywhere just to breathe better.

  13. Lila

    9 months ago

    I don’t have COPD but have Bronchiolitis Obliterans as a result of a BMT for Leukemia, and can’t find any forum like this to find out the best climate/cities to live in for this condition. Any advice? I am almost 5 years out from bone marrow transplant and dealing with many issues (chronic Graft Vs Host Disease), so I need to somewhat near a transplant hospital, otherwise open. Currently living in No California…my dry eyes love the fog, but it’s just too expensive, and not sure if ok for my lungs. Thank you!

  14. PB

    9 months ago

    Dear Elaine,

    Thanks for your question. We recommend reading through the American Lung Association’s State of the Air Report for 2016. In the State of the Air Report, you can narrow your search down by state, such as Nevada or Arizona. You can also see how counties in those states ranked for air quality. Click here for Nevada’s State of the Air Report, and click here for Arizona’s State of the Air Report. We hope this is helpful for you, and remember to always discuss any questions or concerns you have about treatments, symptoms or air quality with your doctor.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  15. Elaine

    9 months ago

    I would like to know if moving to Nevada or various parts of Arizona is bad for COPD. Espicially in Las Vegas. Hear it is very humid but they say it is dry air

  16. Ken

    9 months ago

    Prescott is only at 4000 ft +/_. That really isn’t that high when it comes to altitude. The air is much cleaner except when there are fires in the area. There are so many people moving there that it has really become congested and the people are kind of rude as well (rich Californians).

  17. PB

    10 months ago

    Dear Carol,

    Thanks for your comment. We recommend reviewing the American Lung Association’s 2016 State of the Air Report. You can also discuss these questions with you doctor.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  18. Carol

    10 months ago

    I am thinking of moving to Panama City Beach. Fl.
    On the Gulf Coast. Is this a good area for my COPD.
    I am in Southwest Ga.and the air .pollon is killing me.
    Thank on your imput.

  19. PB

    11 months ago

    Hello Jill,

    Thanks for your comment. We have found the American Lung Association’s State of the Air Report to be very helpful. Check out what the American Lung Association has found in the cities and states where you are considering moving. We hope this helps you in your research. If you’re interested in learning more about stem cell treatment options or if you have other questions, feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  20. Jill Taylor

    11 months ago

    Could you tell me whether there are any cities in NC, VA, SC, PA, or WV that would be good for a person with COPD. We are moving somewhere, but are totally confused with all the studies.

  21. Debbie

    11 months ago

    I was just recently diagnosed with copd I live in southern Oregon. I find it doiffuclt when we have fog or the clouds are heavy. I have been told we get inversion layers that keep everything trapped. We were looking at Prescott AZ as a place to go. Can anyone comment about living in higher elevations? I am wondering if clean thin air would out weight dirty air ?

  22. PB

    11 months ago

    Dear Sandy,

    We’re sorry to hear that you’ve been going through such a difficult time and that this article wasn’t helpful for you. Even though there are things to keep in mind living in or near these cities, there are ways to live there successfully. With a variety of articles on our blog, feel free to check out some of our other posts, such as 5 ways to improve oxygen levels and herbs that help COPD.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  23. PB

    11 months ago

    Dear Ruth,

    We’re sorry to hear that you’ve been going through such a difficult time. Your doctor may have advice on ways to increase your energy, so discussing your questions and concerns with your doctor is important. You can also keep checking in with our blog to read a variety of articles, such as 5 ways to improve oxygen levels.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  24. Ruth Newport

    11 months ago

    I never had any trouble with breathing until I let a heart dr. put in a new valve at 90 years. sorry idid here in Las Vegas and now am on oxygen for life. going down down physically. i was full of energy drove every where before i moved from the country area in Hswaii. Living is rough here i wish i had never connected to surgery. Draging this long tube around is no fun and was put on oxygen for what reason

  25. rick cortez

    11 months ago

    el centro, california. from 6 p.m to 12.00 noon, i find it hard to breath. pollution mostly from mexico.depending on the air flow.

  26. Sandy

    11 months ago

    I was recently diagnosed with lung disease, further testing needed to narrow down to having the correct diagnosis. I not NLY have lung disease but RA, Lupus, Fibro and heart conditions..just to name a few! I have lived in Western PA my entire life except for moving away to Rochester, NY for about 10 years. I suppose what upsets me about these type of articles is that moving is totally out of the question for me. I am no longer married and my young adult son who has Autism lives with me and his father part-time. I also have 4 grandchildren with one on the way and my entire family, except for one daughter, lives in or near Pittsburgh, PA. My son and I live in NW PA so the air shouldn’t be as polluted. As I become older, I know realistically I will have to move closer to my family in the city. After reading this article, it upsets me that I shouldn’t even consider living there! I can’t possibly be the only person that has to, or may have to, live in Pittsburgh and can’t move away. It’s just my opinion, but instead of posting articles that cause us to become more upset, post articles that will offer advice and encouragement no matter where we live.

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  28. Jodi

    12 months ago

    I’m confused about the list; especially with Prescott, AZ being on it. Studies have shown that people with COPD should NOT be living at higher elevations because of the strain it has on the lungs that could lead to heart failure. I currently live in Southern AZ and have had nothing but issues with my breathing…. and I just moved from the “asthma capital” of the world…. So… research FOLKS!

  29. Peggy Doherty

    12 months ago

    Hello; my name is Peggy and I was diagnosed with COPD back in 2010 and I live in Austin TX, bad place for us folks that need to breathe. I just want to point out to a reader that takes a lot of hot showers; well darling that is the worst thing that you can do and this is what my pulmonary doctor husband had told me because that is what I would do thinking it will loosen everything up; by the way he is also a pulmonary doctor too and I took his advice and it does help. I am originally from Indiana and I am trying to find somewhere where I can be comfortable and still see my family and friends; because that is where they are at. I have a good doctor here but records can be transferred; I am very picky and I am sure that y’all are to. I have been doing some research just trying to find that happy middle place; if you can relate as to what I’m saying.

  30. Tracy

    1 year ago

    Near the ocean is great, but on it…not so much. Then again, I’m sure what area of the country has a lot to do with it. I’ll explain. I was diagnosed with asthma in my 20’s. Working in the medical field I was required to have a flu shot. Well for some reason, 1 year I didn’t get it. 3 months after my usual time of getting the shot I developed pneumonia. Jumping ahead 20 or so years, I moved to Martha’s Vineyard. Not having pneumonia since that first time, I developed it 5 times in 4.5 years. In that time, was diagnosed with emphysema. My primary, pulmonologist, and cardiologist all insisted I move off. Been away 2 years now, barely got the flu.
    Not sure if it’s just being up north? But I wouldn’t recommend retiring there.

  31. Drayanna

    1 year ago

    I grew up in central Florida and never had any issue with my health at all then moved to Connecticut and although beautiful in fall by winter I couldn’t breath. I never smoked in my life and never diagnosed with asthma yet the many times in the hospital there they couldn’t figure it out. Steroids was there answer. I gained so much weight and that did not help. I stayed in a hot shower day in day out. (Good thing apartment had large water heater and water was included) Getting to my point, I decided to visit family in Florida and it was as if that saved my life. We moved that summer and I went on some inhalers and now watch for symptoms to do preemptive strike. I had one episode which was treated and quickly. I did not move to Florida but Mississippi. Arkansas is close so must be altitudes can cause a huge difference. I’m just glad that the hospital here treats the symptoms quickly. My breathing is very important. :-D

  32. Marie

    1 year ago

    I have COPS and for some odd reason I thrive in the Minnesota winters. The air is crisp and I feel like a million bucks. I live in So. Cal and near the ocean which hasn’t been too bad … Minnesota, hands down, has been the best for me and my COPD.

  33. Myrtle

    1 year ago

    I don’t know who made these decisions but Pittsburgh is one of the best cities in the country. The air is not like it was 30 years ago. Don’t agree with your choices.

  34. PB

    1 year ago

    Hi, Wilma,

    Thank you for your comment. Adult stem cells can form many types of differentiated cells, so when they are returned to the patient, they will target damaged lung tissue, potentially leading to improved lung function. You can learn more at Stem Cell Treatment Basics. For more information about stem cell therapy and possible treatment options, call us at 1-855-313-1149 to speak with one of our patient coordinators.

    We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Kind Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  35. wilma

    1 year ago

    What does stem cell do for COPD?

  36. David Ebner

    2 years ago


    Thanks for sharing your story! We’ve only looked at cities inside the U.S., but exploring some international options is a great idea. Let us know if you come up with any interesting facts through your research.



  37. Noel

    2 years ago

    In 2000, for 6 months, I did Alpha-Interferon treatment for Hep C infection. I non-responded to treatment, and it caused even more problems for me. All kinds of additional auto-immune health problems, started to occur. One of the things they diagnosed me with was COPD. The doctors said it “burned” my lungs, but at the time, I was in such severe intractable neuropathic pain, (caused by this medicine) that it took most of my energy and attention just to manage it so I could function.
    15 yrs later, (and older), I have since done the new treatment, and am happy to say, I am now Hep C free… However, I caught a cold in late June, and after several trips to the ER, and numerous Dr visits, the diagnosis is an aggravation of COPD, with enlarged lungs. Somehow, I thought, it was gone. Given the distraction of the nerve pain, I didn’t much pay attention, because symptoms were generally mild. btw, I am not a smoker, and when young, was not a heavy smoker. All my doctors agree that the Interferon treatment is the culprit, and the deteriorating air quality due to the Vog, is making me very sick.
    I live in Hawaii, on the southwest coast of the Big Island. The volcano has been erupting since 1984, and the air quality for this area, continues to get worse. I was going to buy a piece of property here, as this is the only area in Hawaii, that is affordable, besides where the lava might actually cover your land lol! However, I’ve been advised that might not be such a good idea, especially since I’m an avid (obsessive) gardener. I’m finding out that there is a high incidence of lung disease here, many have died of complications, and others have moved away, to find less toxic air.
    I am considering NM, or even Ex-pat in Mexico, Costa Rica, or Ecuador. Do you have any information on places outside of the US? I have always lived within an hour of the ocean, but I think my time is up here. Thanks for any information. Sorry so long-winded..haha

  38. Jerry Gallamore

    2 years ago

    I have developed to a point the i have mucus non-stop now. I am seriously looking for a place i could live to possibly clear this up. It’s my understanding that the air if the ocean should be the cleanest but never see the Oregon coast as a place to live. I’m from illinois

  39. Karen pickett

    2 years ago

    I have reactive asthma And am diabetic . Iand need to go on prednisone for long periods which of course causes the sugar go skyrocketing

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  41. David Ebner

    2 years ago


    At about 5,000 feet above sea level, Prescott does have an elevation that may cause a lower oxygen concentration in the air. However, the primary factors in our study were the cleanliness of the air itself and the support available in the area. With the EPA listing Prescott as having the cleanest air in the country, we ranked it high on our list. You bring up a very good point though, and our future lists will most definitely look closer at elevation as a factor.



  42. Paula

    2 years ago

    Isn’t Prescott at too high of an elevation?

  43. Jared White

    2 years ago

    Thank you for commenting on our article! The information provided in this blog post does list some of the best/worst places to live with COPD. We do recommend that you talk to your doctor about what type of city or environment would be best to live in. If you are looking to manage your COPD symptoms and would like to know more about stem cell therapy, please call one of our Patient Care Coordinators at (855) 313-1149.

  44. Mitzi

    2 years ago

    My husband and I both suffer from COPD and live in FL. we are looking for the best place to move for our health. Our COPD isn’t real bad but we just want to be where we are prepared for our future.
    Fayetteville, Arkansas is where I have found to be the best place/ Does anyone have any suggestions ? Right now we live in FL right now.

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