New York City
Wondering specifically how it stacks up to Shanghai.
I live in Beijing, and let's be honest, it's bad. And it is worse than Shanghai. There are ups and downs. For example, this week has been great with a pollution index around 50 every day because it rained three times, and the rain lowers the pollution. But last week was very bad, with the pollution index averaging 200 every day. Usually on a good day the index will be around 50. I consider a bad day to be an index from 180 to 300. And above 300 is a very bad day (and they happen).
It does impact your life. I have masks at home for when it's too bad. It's hard to make plans for the weekend because you don't know if you will feel like going outdoors. The first year I lived here I got sick three times, and lost my voice once (I believe it was related to the pollution).
In general, Shanghai is better. If you look at the data from the past two weeks Shanghai only had one day with a pollution index above 150, Beijing had 9. But I heard from people who live in Shanghai that it is getting worse there too.
If you want to know exactly how it is, you can download an app called Air Quality Index, it will give you the pollution index every day for each city in China. Most people here use it.
It is way worse than Shanghai.