What Is The Most Polluted City in China? (2020)

Cities in China have consistently ranked among the most polluted in the world. Just how bad is it? Smart Air analyzed 2020 pollution data from 52 cities in China to find the most polluted cities in in China.

Rankings: Most Polluted Cities in China (2020)

1) Anyang Henan Province (44 μg/m3)

2) Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province (43 μg/m3)

3) Xinxiang, Henan Province (41 μg/m3)

4) Xuchang, Henan Province (41 μg/m3)

5) Tianjin, Tianjin Province (40 μg/m3)

6) Taiyuan, Shanxi Province (39 μg/m3)

7) Zhengzhou, Henan Province (39 μg/m3)

8) Jinan, Shandong Province (38 μg/m3)

9) Xian, Shaanxi Province (38 μg/m3)

10) Fushun, Liaoning Province (38 μg/m3)


Only 1 of the 52 cities (Lhasa, Tibet) had pollution levels below the recommended limits. Four out of the seven most polluted cities were in Henan Province.

Notable Cities

Beijing (33μg/m3) came in as the 11th most polluted city in China for 2020, just missing our rankings.

Although Shanghai was not ranked in the top half of the list, it still averaged air pollution (28μg/m3) levels nearly 3 times the recommended limit.

How Air Pollution Was Measured

There are various pollutants (both particles and gases) that can be found in the air. One of the most commonly tracked pollutants are very small, fine particles called PM2.5.

These small pollutants are under 2.5 micrograms in width and considered to be one of the more dangerous pollutants due to their ability to enter deep into the lungs and bloodstream. 

Recommended limits

The limit that is closely aligned to what studies show about the health effects of pollution is the annual limit of 10 micrograms/m3


The year 2020 has been an unordinary year for air pollution. A Smart Air analysis found that air pollution dipped in 2020 around the world partly due to factory shutdowns from COVID-19.

How I Protect Myself

Smart Air is a certified B Corp committed to combating the myths big companies use to inflate the price of clean air.

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Smart Air is a social enterprise that creates simple, no-nonsense air purifiers and provides free education to protect people’s health from the effects of air pollution. We are proud to be the only certified B-Corp dedicated to fighting air pollution.