Millions of Americans are under poor air quality alerts right now due to widespread wildfires across Canada. The impacts of the smoke and haze are being experienced across the United States, particularly in Eastern and Northeastern states, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. As of Wednesday afternoon, New York ranked as the no. 1 city with the worst air quality in the United States. Experts are suggesting those with an air quality alert to stay indoors with doors and windows closed and wear a mask if needed to be outdoors.
CivicScience immediately checked the pulse of Americans, and data show that among those who self-report poor air quality in their area, 7% of respondents have avoided going outdoors completely (n=4,942). Twenty-two percent report they’ve spent less time outdoors but not avoided it completely. The majority of respondents have not limited time outside, but 6% say they’ve been wearing a mask to protect themselves.
The percentage of consumers who’ve limited time outdoors due to poor air quality jumps among those living in Northeast U.S. regions. Fifty-six percent say they’ve limited time outdoors to some extent, and 37% report they’ve not limited time outside. Those living in the Midwest and Southern regions are the second-most likely to say they’ve limited time outdoors due to air pollution, and Westerners are the least likely to report they’ve done so.
Additional CivicScience data show that:
- Consumers with a respiratory-related health condition (e.g. asthma) or have someone in their household who does, are three times as likely to report staying indoors completely due to air pollution (13% compared to 4% of those without a respiratory-related condition). They’re also much more likely to say they’ve ‘spent less time outdoors but not avoided it completely’ (30% compared to 19% without a condition).
- Among those who self-report poor air quality in their area, Gen Z adults aged 18-24 are the most likely to take preventative measures – avoiding going outdoors completely (9%), avoiding going outdoors but not completely (34%), and wearing a mask (19%). Millennials aged 25-34 are the second-most likely to say they’re taking measures. Conversely, adults aged 35-54 are the least likely to report they’re avoiding time outdoors and adults aged 55+ are the least likely to report wearing a mask.
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