Erie Vital Signs

Air Quality in Erie County

Air quality has been improving in the Erie area over the long term. In the most recent five years, the EPA’s Air Quality Index has been in the “good” range (which is the best category) 61% of the time compared with only 44% of the time in the early 1980s. Erie has had only 0.1% “unhealthy” days in the last five years (and none in the last two years), and no “very unhealthy” days since 1988. In the period from 1980-84, Erie experienced days that were “unhealthy for sensitive groups” 16.1% of the time—nearly one day in six. But from 2010 to 2014, the same category occurred only 0.9% of the time, less than one in a hundred.

A lower AQI is better, and the “good” category includes readings in the 0 to 50 range. In the last two years, Erie’s AQI has averaged 26.3 and 27.6, compared with annual averages for 1980 and 1981 of 59.3 and 54.9. Erie’s median value for 2014 was just 12.0.

However, the picture is not all roses. Compared to its peers for 2014, Erie’s 65.5% of “good” days is below the peer average of 74.3%, and is worse than 10 of the 13 peers.

For more information on this EVS indicator, go to Air Quality directly. To answer the broader question “How is Erie doing?” go to the Erie Vital Signs website for data on the most important measures in seven key fields.

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