What Are the Best and Worst States for Allergies? (2024)

More than 50 million Americans live withallergies, many of which areseasonal. Pollenis the major cause of seasonal allergies. If you have bad seasonal allergies, you might wonder if living somewhere else could help with your symptoms.

Whileallergensare everywhere, the best states for allergies are found on the West Coast, where seasonal allergies are less of a problem than in other parts of the United States.

This article discusses the best and worst areas of the U.S. to live in for seasonal allergies.

What Are the Best and Worst States for Allergies? (1)

How to Get Relief from Allergy Symptoms

Best Cities and States for Allergies

Each year, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America ranks the top "Allergy Capitals" in the U.S. by looking at spring and fall pollen scores, the use of over-the-counter (OTC) allergy medications, and the availability of board-certifiedallergists.

For 2022, the AAFA has ranked the following cities as the best places to live if you have allergies:

  • Seattle, Washington
  • Durham, North Carolina
  • San Francisco, California
  • San Jose, California
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Sacramento, California
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Provo, Utah
  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • Fresno, California

With one exception (North Carolina), all of these cities are in western U.S. states.

Worst Cities and States for Allergies

As with the best states for allergies, the AAFA also ranks the worst states for allergies using the same criteria.

States that have a lot of trees, grass, and weeds will have a lot of allergens. Areas in the Northeast U.S. like Pennsylvania, New York, and Connecticut. Virginia, Kansas, and Texas have a high rate of allergens.

For 2022, the AAFA has ranked the following as the worst places to live if you have allergies:

  • Scranton, Pennsylvania
  • Wichita, Kansas
  • McAllen, Texas
  • Richmond, Virginia
  • San Antonio, Texas
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Hartford, Connecticut
  • Buffalo, New York
  • New Haven, Connecticut
  • Albany, New York

Before Moving

Before you think about moving somewhere else to avoid allergies, keep in mind that allergens are everywhere. Moving to a new state may not get rid of your allergy symptoms.

It’s also important to note that many plant families share the same or similar proteins that trigger allergies. While you could relocate to an area to avoid one allergen, you could also develop an allergy to another member of the same plant family in your new locale.

However, knowing your allergy triggers can help you decide if a move is right for you. For example:

  • If weed pollen is the main cause of your allergies, moving to the Pacific Northwest could benefit you because it has less ragweed pollen.
  • If tree pollen is the main culprit, moving away from heavily-wooded areas to more coastal places could alleviate your allergies.
  • If you move to an area with extreme rainfall and higher temperatures, you could develop allergies as a result of indoor air quality, such as mold growth.

Knowing an area'spollen countcan help you figure out how bad your allergies could be if you lived in that area.

A sampling device called a Rotorod can help you get this figure. It also assigns areas into three levels of pollen counts: low, moderate, and high.

Managing Seasonal and Year-Round Allergies

Living withperennial allergiescan be physically uncomfortable and canaffect your mood.However, there are steps you can take to deal with your allergy symptoms no matter where you live.

Follow these tips to reduce allergy symptoms:

  • Keep windows closed (to keep out triggers for seasonal allergies) or keep windows open for perennial allergies (because it decreases dust mist and mold growth by increasing ventilation).
  • Wear an N95-rated mask, gloves, and sunglasses when gardening or performing yard work
  • Change clothes after coming in from outdoor activities.
  • Remove shoes when entering your house.
  • Shower before bed.
  • Wash bedding weekly.

Some allergy symptoms may need medications like:

  • Over-the-counter (OTC) allergy medications such as Benadryl(diphenhydramine),Allegra(fexofenadine),Zyrtec(cetirizine), andClaritin(loratadine)
  • OTCdecongestantmedications and nasal sprays
  • Allergy shotsprescribed by your healthcare provider

Natural Remedies for Allergies

Allergies and Climate Change

Since climate change has made pollen production more intense,allergy seasons have become longerand more severe. Depending on where you live, you may have already started to notice that the seasons are coming earlier, lasting longer, or just don't seem to be "like they used to be."

Climate change is also affecting the world's air quality, which can also make life more difficult for people with conditions like allergies and asthma.

If the changes in your environment related to climate change are worsening your allergy symptoms, you may consider moving to a different climate. Depending on what triggers your allergies, you may want to learn more about how climate change is affecting weather conditions in different places.

For example, research suggests that while there are widespread changes to pollen production related to climate change, Texas and Midwestern states seem to be the parts of the United States that are seeing the fastest increase.


Pollen is the leading cause of allergies and can be worse in certain areas of the United States, mainly on the East Coast. Cities on the West Coast, such as California, Washington, and Utah, can be better choices for people with allergies.

However, allergens are everywhere. Even if you move to an area that is considered better for allergies, you may still have that allergy or develop a new one.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does being close to the coast help with allergies?

    Living close to the coast could help alleviate allergies, because the area may have fewer trees or less grass and weeds than other areas.

  • Does geography affect allergies?

    Geography can affect allergies because of the climate associated with different regions. For instance, areas with higher temperatures and drought can lead to more allergies because of the lack of airflow. This leads to higher carbon dioxide levels and, in turn, higher pollen levels.

6 Sources

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. 2022 allergy capitals.

  2. Lo F, Bitz CM, Battisti DS, Hess JJ. Pollen calendars and maps of allergenic pollen in North America.Aerobiologia. 2019;35(4):613-633. doi:10.1007/s10453-019-09601-2

  3. Anderegg WRL, Abatzoglou JT, Anderegg LDL, Bielory L, Kinney PL, Ziska L. Anthropogenic climate change is worsening North American pollen seasons.Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2021;118(7):e2013284118. doi:10.1073/pnas.2013284118

  4. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Climate change and health.

  5. National Institue of Food and Agriculture. Yes, allergy seasons are getting worse. Blame climate change.

  6. NOAA. Climate & allergies.

What Are the Best and Worst States for Allergies? (2)

By Karon Warren
Warren is a freelance health writer based in Georgia with a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Southern Mississippi.

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