Discover the South Carolina Town With the State’s Worst Air Quality

Written by Niccoy Walker
Updated: June 21, 2023
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Key Points:

  • Mauldin, located in Greenville County, has the worst air quality in South Carolina.
  • Situated between Greenville and Simpsonville, Mauldin is positioned in the northwestern region of the state.
  • The growing population and higher concentration of pollutants in Greenville County contribute to increased health impacts from pollution.

When considering a move, it’s not enough to research the best schools and employment opportunities in an area, or even the weather and natural disasters. You must also consider the air quality. Maybe you’re relocating to beautiful South Carolina, or maybe you already live there and are hoping that your city didn’t top the list of least-breathable air. Either way, discover the South Carolina town with the worst air quality, including a breakdown of its Air Quality Index. Plus, how does poor air quality affect humans, nature, and wildlife? Find out now! 

What South Carolina Town Has the Worst Air Quality?

Greenville South Carolina
Mauldin in Greenville County has the worst air quality in South Carolina.


The city of Mauldin in Greenville County is the South Carolina town with the worst air quality. Mauldin is located between Greenville and Simpsonville in the northwestern region of the state. 

Greenville County has a growing population and a higher concentration of pollutants, like particulate matter. Larger cities and counties with higher populations tend to have more health impacts from pollution. 

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, air pollution causes one in five deaths worldwide. And even impacts residents on a local scale. In 2016, 15 deaths were linked to air quality in Greenville County.

However, new reports show the area has improved its particle pollution. But it still has a way to go on the ozone. Ozone pollution targets children, the elderly, and people suffering from lung diseases.

Anyone who lives in Mauldin can probably tell you that summers can be especially brutal. The air feels thicker with less movement, causing more symptoms than usual. Getting pollution alerts on your phone is not uncommon in the area. These alerts prompt people with respiratory diseases, like asthma, to stay indoors and reschedule activities.

How Bad is the Air Quality in Mauldin, South Carolina?

Mask for Poor Air Quality
An AQI over 50 poses a moderate health risk for residents and animals.


Mauldin, South Carolina, has an Air Quality Index (AQI) of 53.6. The average AQI in the United States is around 40, which is satisfactory. Index values below 50 are considered good. And anything between 51 and 100 is a moderate health concern. 

Let’s compare Mauldin to some of the most polluted countries in the world. Pakistan ranks high on the scale of most polluted air, with an AQI of 159. A score higher than 150 puts residents in an unhealthy range. Chad tops the list as the worst air quality in the world with an AQI of 169.

While Mauldin may not experience poor air quality on the level of Chad or Pakistan, it can still be cause for concern, especially for people who are immunocompromised.

Breakdown of Mauldin’s Air Quality Index

Let’s break down the air quality in Mauldin a little further.

PollutantValueLevel of Health Concern
Overall AQI53.6Moderate
Carbon Monoxide.29Low
Sulfur Dioxide.0012Low
Nitrogen Dioxide.0099Higher Than Average
Ozone.0454Higher Than Average
Particulate Matter (PM)1016.1Low
Particulate Matter (PM)2.510.7Higher Than Average

How Can Poor Air Quality Affect Humans?

Here are some ways poor air quality can affect your health:

  • Worsen lung disease
  • Skin irritation
  • Trigger asthma symptoms and bronchitis
  • Increase respiratory infections
  • Affect lung development
  • Spur heart attacks and abnormal heartbeats
  • Increase your risk of lung cancer and heart disease
  • Accelerated lung aging
  • Premature death

The Population of Mauldin, South Carolina

As of the 2020 census, Mauldin has a population of 24,724. The area has seen an increase in its population, which can also affect the air quality. More people using more resources results in higher pollution. But the area’s issues with air quality are most likely due to its location. Mauldin and the surrounding area sit in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Pollution from larger metropolitan areas gets blown into these foothill areas, where it settles. But a lack of emission standards and clean energy can also greatly impact an area.

Air quality index measurement
Poor air quality can cause respiratory distress in humans and animals.


How Does Poor Air Quality Impact Plants and Animals?

The ecosystem is significantly impacted by air quality. Certain pollutants can produce excess levels of acid in freshwater, damaging native plants, trees, and aquatic life. Pollution can have similar health problems to wildlife as it does to humans, such as respiratory distress, skin irritation, and neurological issues. Poor air quality can also damage crops, negatively impact forest growth, and ultimately change our scenic environment over time.

Wildlife Near Mauldin, South Carolina

Here are some animals that could potentially be affected by bad air quality near Mauldin.

  • Eagles
  • Deer
  • Otters
  • Bobcats
  • Dogs
  • Coyotes
  • Armadillos
  • Opossums
  • Raccoons
  • Foxes
  • Black bears

Where is Mauldin, South Carolina Located on a Map?

Mauldin is a city located in Greenville County, South Carolina, United States, with a population of 24,724 as of the 2020 census. It serves as a principal city within the Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Here is Mauldin, South Carolina on a map:

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Greenville South Carolina
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About the Author

Niccoy is a professional writer and content creator focusing on nature, wildlife, food, and travel. She graduated Kappa Beta Delta from Florida State College with a business degree before realizing writing was her true passion. She lives in the Triangle area and enjoys hiking, reading, and cooking!

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