The recent dip in air quality in the Upper Midwest due to ongoing wildfires in Canada was an important reminder to a lot of us about how much we take our fresh air for granted around these parts.

It's so nice to live in a place where clean air and water are the expectation, not the exception.

And it's also refreshing to see that Sioux Falls is being recognized for taking care of the natural resources we have been blessed with.

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A recent report from Men's Health has South Dakota's largest city in the top 25 'greenest' cities in America - at number 21 overall.

AMERICA'S 'GREENEST' CITIES (Men's Health)

1. Burlington, Vermont
2. Virginia Beach, Virginia
3. Buffalo, New York
4. Honolulu, Hawaii
5. Greensboro, North Carolina
6. Portland, Maine
7. Boston, Massachusetts
8. Anchorage, Alaska
9. Madison, Wisconsin
10. Fargo, North Dakota
11. Lincoln, Nebraska
12. San Francisco, California
13. Chesapeake, Virginia
14. Boise City, Idaho
15. St. Petersburg, Florida
16. Washington, DC
17. Richmond, Virginia
18. Reno, Nevada
19. Durham, North Carolina
20. Las Vegas, Nevada
21. Sioux Falls, South Dakota
22. Plano, Texas
23. Raleigh, North Carolina
24. Colorado Springs, Colorado
25. Norfolk, Virginia

The rankings of the 100 most populated cities in America were based on air quality, green space, LEED-certified public buildings, and chemical usage, using numbers from County Health Rankings, the EPA, the Trust for Public Land, U. S. Census Bureau, U. S. Green Building Council, as well as city and county records.

As for Sioux Falls, the city is in the midst of rolling out its Sustainability Master Plan, which is currently in the 'develop goals and actions' phase. In September that will transition into the 'community engagement' phase, with full rollout of the plan due by April of 2022.

The plan will focus on six key areas:

  • Natural Systems
    Protect and conserve our environment and natural resources.
  • Transportation and Land Use
    Provide an efficient, multi-modal transportation system that offers increasingly clean measures for all users, and promote sustainable land use and development.
  • Energy and Buildings
    Utilize clean, efficient, and reliable energy and encourage green building practices.
  • Sustainable Economy
    Promote sustainable growth and encourage businesses and organizations to take part in sustainable practices and improve the community’s triple bottom line.
  • Materials Management and Waste
    Increase waste diversion programs and encourage more reduction, reuse, and recycling within our community.
  • Community Vitality and Sustainable Living
    Promote health, support resilient food systems, and encourage actions and behaviors that are sustainable and benefit the individual and community.

Standing in Three States at One Time

READ ON: See the States Where People Live the Longest

Stacker used data from the 2020 County Health Rankings to rank every state's average life expectancy from lowest to highest. The 2020 County Health Rankings values were calculated using mortality counts from the 2016-2018 National Center for Health Statistics. The U.S. Census 2019 American Community Survey and America's Health Rankings Senior Report 2019 data were also used to provide demographics on the senior population of each state and the state's rank on senior health care, respectively.

Read on to learn the average life expectancy in each state.