Air quality and asthma hospitalization rates: Evidence of PM2.5 concentrations in pennsylvania counties

Elham Erfanian, Alan R. Collins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


According to the World Health Organization, 235 million people around the world currently suffer from asthma, including approximately 25 million in the United States. There is substantial epidemiological evidence particulate matter concentrations and asthma. Based upon county level data from 2001-2014, a spatial panel framework with weights based upon prevailing wind patterns is used to investigate the direct and indirect impacts of P M2.5 concentration levels on asthma hospitalization rates in Pennsylvania. This model controls for population density, precipitation, per capita income, and smoking rate. Results show that P M2.5 concentrations have positive effects on asthma hospitalization rates (both direct and indirect). For example, a one µ/m3 increase in P M2.5 concentrations throughout all counties in Pennsylvania raises the number of annual asthma hospitalizations by over 400, with 53.8% of this increase occurring due to spillover effects. This study highlights the need for a more accurate impact analysis of ambient air pollution on asthma that reflects the impacts of both local and neighboring regions’ air quality. In the case of asthma hospitalization rates from P M2.5 pollutions, an appropriate wind direction algorithm also is important to identify spillover effects across counties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Regional Analysis and Policy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Population data come from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Precipitation data are collected through PRISM climate group is supported by the USDA Risk Management Agency, and the National Center for Biotechnology Information published cigarette smoking prevalence in U.S. counties. Finally, for the spatial weight matrix, a shape file of Pennsylvania counties consisting of the latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates of all the 67 counties is adapted from the U.S. Census Bureau (Tiger) report.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, University of Nebraska. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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