Fast Stats December 2019

Nov. 22, 2019

The 2019 State of Global Air: A Special Report on Global Exposure to Air Pollution and Its Disease Burden gives a fresh look at the impact of poor air quality on people’s health around the world. The report analyzed household and outdoor (ambient) air pollution levels in developed and developing countries, along with related health conditions and life expectancies for those living in air-polluted environments. Here are highlights:


leading risk factor for mortality worldwide is air pollution. It is responsible for more deaths than malnutrition, alcohol use and physical inactivity. Each year, more people die from air pollution–related disease than from road traffic injuries or malaria.


and more of people worldwide live in areas exceeding the World Health Organization (WHO) Guideline for healthy air. More than half live in areas that do not even meet WHO’s least-stringent air quality target.

5 million

or nearly one in 10 deaths globally were associated with air pollution in 2017.


increase since 1990 in (or nearly half a million of) early deaths worldwide were due to ozone pollution in 2017. Most of the growth was seen in the past decade.

3.6 billion

people or nearly half of the world’s population were exposed to household air pollution in 2017.

20 months

on average worldwide is the reduced life expectancy due to air pollution, a global impact rivaling that of smoking. This means a child born today will die 20 months sooner, on average, than would be expected in the absence of air pollution.

Citation: Health Effects Institute. 2019. State of Global Air 2019,