Best Cities for Allergies

2022 Guide to the Best Cities for Allergies

The 50 million Americans who are affected by seasonal allergies might already be starting to experience symptoms from spring allergens in warmer parts of the U.S. Although there’s not a magical location that is safe from all allergens, there’s a good chance that you can avoid what you’re allergic to by understanding when different regions of the country experience different pollen levels. 

One thing you’ll notice when you look at the best ranking cities, is that a majority are in a handful of states that share common environments. Coastal areas, as well as dry and high-altitude settings often make the best places to live with allergies.

Spring is a beautiful time of year for vacations, getaways, and recharge trips after a bleak winter, but there are certainly areas to avoid if you suffer from spring allergies. Thankfully, not all cities have the same pollen levels, and there are many cities you can visit that are more allergy-friendly than others.

How Are the Best Cities for Spring Allergies Ranked?

After analyzing five years of Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) data from 2016 to 2021*, we averaged city rankings that had above average scores each year to find their overall comfort level for allergy sufferers.

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The AAFA used three metrics to form their rankings of the top 100 most populated metros including:

  • Seasonal pollen scores in spring
  • Over-the-counter allergy medication use
  • Number of allergy specialists

While there are certain outliers each year, we were able to identify repeat cities that scored above average for all five years.

Best Cities for Allergies

After averaging five years of AAFA data, 13 cities routinely came up as the least challenging places to live with allergies. You’ll notice many cities either in west coast locations, or in dry and high-altitude areas like Utah and Colorado. This could be due partially to the fact that the Pacific Northwest has lower amounts of certain types of pollen. while frequent rain can help lower coastal pollen count. Outliers like Raleigh may be controversial, and some Raleigh residents may argue that the city doesn’t belong on this list due to the pollen cloud that routinely encompasses the area in March and April.

  1. Provo, UT
  2. Denver, CO
  3. Salt Lake City, UT
  4. Portland, OR
  5. Boise, ID
  6. Seattle, WA
  7. San Jose, CA
  8. Colorado Springs, CO
  9. Ogden, UT
  10. San Diego, CA
  11. Raleigh, NC
  12. Sacramento, CA
  13. San Francisco, CA

City

2016

2018

2019

2020

2021

Average

Provo, UT

98

99

99

99

98

98.6

Denver, CO

99

100

100

90

91

96

Salt Lake City, UT

88

93

96

97

97

94.2

Portland, OR

92

97

94

93

93

93.8

Boise, ID

94

98

98

92

86

93.6

Seattle, WA

82

94

93

98

99

93.2

San Jose, CA

86

90

92

91

96

91

Colorado Springs, CO

95

96

95

84

84

90.8

Ogden, UT

90

95

97

86

85

90.6

San Diego, CA

86

89

88

89

89

88.2

Raleigh, NC

93

92

91

81

83

88

Sacramento, CA

89

86

80

88

90

86.6

San Francisco, CA

80

88

90

83

88

85.8

Looking at where the top cities are located, the best states for allergies are:

  • California
  • Utah
  • Colorado
  • Washington

It’s important to go for allergy testing if you’re unsure of what type of pollen is triggering allergy problems. It’s possible that you may only experience allergies during certain times of the year, or that you may develop allergies if you move. If you find yourself struggling during the spring allergy season, here are some tips for easing symptoms:

  • Keep windows closed and have the HVAC running to filter the air.
  • Routinely have air ducts cleaned to remove allergen build-up.
  • Upgrade your air filter to a MERV 11 or higher to help trap and remove allergens from your air cycle.
  • Spend time outdoors when pollen counts are lower, or after it rains, and shower immediately after coming indoors.
  • Keep pets clean and take care to make sure paws, and shoes, are cleaned before coming indoors.

*The AAFA did not gather data in 2017