The 25 Best Places to Live in the U.S. for Allergy Sufferers

Consider these spots for your next hometown if you're fed up with seasonal allergies.

By Devon Thorsby, Editor, Real Estate |May 1, 2019, at 5:09 p.m.

The 25 Best Places to Live in the U.S. for Allergy Sufferers

Slideshow

Keep your environmental allergies under control in these metro areas.

Early morning sightseers and photographers gather together on the overlook at Pittock Mansion west of Portland, Oregon. The building dubbed "Big Pink" stands tall as the first rays of daylight warm the waking city.

(Getty Images)

Just about everyone gets excited for spring, as warmer weather, sunnier skies and blooming flowers signify the end of winter and the start of exciting opportunities for outdoor entertainment and adventure. But pollen allergies keep many people inside as flowers and trees bloom and incite itchy eyes, sore throats and runny noses. While the risk for allergies is not a part of the data compiled to determine the overall Best Places to Live in the U.S. list, we figure a spike in pollen levels may have you wondering where you can go to experience a little less seasonal hay fever.

How we determined the best metro areas for your allergies

How we determined the best metro areas for your allergies

Man walking in park.

(Getty Images)

To calculate the Best Places to Live for Allergy Sufferers, we pulled in the results of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America’s Allergy Capitals reports for fall 2018 and spring 2019. The AAFA report considers pollen levels, allergy medicine use and number of allergy specialists in each metro area. To provide greater context about factors that can contribute to allergy issues, we calculated the median air quality for each metro area, based on the number of days with good quality, warnings for some health groups and hazardous air quality, among other details, based on data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Note that due to limited pollen data in some parts of the U.S., 91 out of the 125 most populous metro areas in the U.S. were considered for this list.

25. Tampa, Florida

25. Tampa, Florida

Skyline of Downtown Tampa, Florida, US

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2019 Rank: 56
Metro Area Population: 2,978,209
Median Home Price: $199,717
Median Annual Salary: $46,080
Air Quality Rank: 56

As in every metro area on the list, spring is a tougher season for allergy sufferers than fall in Tampa. But pollen levels and the need for allergy medicine in this Florida metro area remain about average compared to the rest of the U.S.

Learn more about Tampa.

24. Boston

24. Boston

Boston Backbay Falls colors.

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2019 Rank: 27
Metro Area Population: 4,771,936
Median Home Price: $423,450
Median Annual Salary: $65,420
Air Quality Rank: 91

Winter storms may be notorious in Boston, but residents fortunately don’t have to be concerned about a particularly harsh spring allergy season afterward. While there’s still a good chance you’ll find your nose tingling in spring, fall in Boston is considered much milder than the national average.

Learn more about Boston.

23. Stockton, California

23. Stockton, California

Waterfront Cityscape of All American City Award Recipient, Stockton, California, Reflected in River at Weber Point

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2019 Rank: 123
Metro Area Population: 724,153
Median Home Price: $352,350
Median Annual Salary: $46,770
Air Quality Rank: 87

Located inland from the San Francisco Bay Area, this Northern California metro area has mild fall allergy seasons. Spring pollen levels in Stockton are better than the national average, according to AAFA, with average allergy medicine use and access to allergy specialists.

Learn more about Stockton.

22. Baltimore

22. Baltimore

Baltimore downtown traffic at sunset time.

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2019 Rank: 100
Metro Area Population: 2,792,050
Median Home Price: $248,833
Median Annual Salary: $56,400
Air Quality Rank: 76

Baltimore-area residents get their fair share of pollen in spring and fall, but levels are better than the national average in both seasons. Air quality for Baltimore is in the lower half of the 125 most populous metro areas on the list, but there were still 181 good days for air quality in 2018, according to the EPA.

Learn more about Baltimore.

21. Orlando, Florida

21. Orlando, Florida

Sunset on the Boardwalk - Disneyworld

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2019 Rank: 63
Metro Area Population: 2,390,859
Median Home Price: $233,050
Median Annual Salary: $44,410
Air Quality Rank: 16

Ranking 16th out of the 125 most populous metro areas in the U.S. for air quality, the Orlando area has just two days annually with unhealthy air quality – one for the general population and one for those with heightened sensitivity.

Learn more about Orlando.

20. Worcester, Massachusetts

20. Worcester, Massachusetts

Worcester, Massachusetts, USA Skyline at rush hour.

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2019 Rank: 62
Metro Area Population: 934,923
Median Home Price: $249,275
Median Annual Salary: $53,110
Air Quality Rank: 30

Fairly centrally located in Massachusetts, Worcester residents experience mild spring and fall allergy seasons compared to the likes of Springfield, Massachusetts, which ranks highly for bad allergies on both lists from AAFA.

Learn more about Worcester.

19. Lakeland, Florida

19. Lakeland, Florida

A walking bridge on Lake Parker, Lakeland, Florida, and an eastern cedar tree

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2019 Rank: 59
Metro Area Population: 652,256
Median Home Price: $171,967
Median Annual Salary: $40,560
Air Quality Rank: 13

At No. 13 for air quality, Lakeland sees very few days where air pollution is considered a risk to anyone. Combined with average spring and fall allergy seasons, Lakeland is a better place than most to endure seasonal allergies.

Learn more about Lakeland.

18. Rochester, New York

18. Rochester, New York

These are the best fall family vacations

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2019 Rank: 58
Metro Area Population: 1,080,653
Median Home Price: $135,042
Median Annual Salary: $49,570
Air Quality Rank: 21

Rochester’s pollen levels in both spring and fall are better than average, as calculated by the AAFA. In addition, the upstate New York metro area saw 260 good or moderate air quality days in 2018.

Learn more about Rochester.

17. Washington, D.C.

17. Washington, D.C.

Washington Monument is an obelisk on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., built to commemorate George Washington.

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2019 Rank: 19
Metro Area Population: 6,090,196
Median Home Price: $376,767
Median Annual Salary: $69,210
Air Quality Rank: 92

The nation’s capital is famous for the National Cherry Blossom Festival each spring. While the event can certainly cause some allergen distress, it's nothing compared to much of the rest of the country. Washington’s pollen levels in both spring and fall are lower than the national average.

Learn more about Washington.

16. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

16. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

The churches and neighborhoods seen from the South Street Parking Garage in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2019 Rank: 44
Metro Area Population: 565,008
Median Home Price: $162,967
Median Annual Salary: $48,270
Air Quality Rank: 47

Pennsylvania’s capital comes in at No. 16 on the list, with fairly closely matched spring and fall allergy seasons. While spring is relatively mild and has lower pollen levels compared to the average, pollen levels in fall are more on par with the rest of the U.S.

Learn more about Harrisburg.

15. Denver

15. Denver

USA, Colorado, Denver, city view and Rocky Mountains from the east, dawn

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2019 Rank: 2
Metro Area Population: 2,798,684
Median Home Price: $393,842
Median Annual Salary: $57,400
Air Quality Rank: 121

The Mile High City doesn’t have particularly bad pollen levels, but the air quality isn’t great either. Denver’s altitude, at over 5,000 feet, makes for more days – 41 in 2018 – in which pollution can be a problem for at-risk groups for health reasons.

Learn more about Denver.

14. San Francisco

14. San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, USA

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2019 Rank: 7
Metro Area Population: 4,641,820
Median Home Price: $768,517
Median Annual Salary: $69,700
Air Quality Rank: 106

San Francisco has mild allergy seasons compared to the rest of the U.S., but fall sees especially little pollen activity and little need of allergy medicine among residents.

Learn more about San Francisco.

13. Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina

13. Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina

Durham, North Carolina, USA downtown cityscape.

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2019 Rank: 10
Metro Area Population: 1,824,266
Median Home Price: $249,294
Median Annual Salary: $53,788
Air Quality Rank: 54

Measured separately in the AAFA lists and combined for this ranking, the Raleigh and Durham metro area shows how pollen levels can vary within a relatively close radius. Raleigh’s pollen levels are reportedly better than the national average in both spring and fall, while Durham’s are more on par with the rest of the U.S.

Learn more about Raleigh and Durham.

12. Milwaukee

12. Milwaukee

Midwest vacations

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2019 Rank: 61
Metro Area Population: 1,575,101
Median Home Price: $207,400
Median Annual Salary: $50,070
Air Quality Rank: 57

Not many Midwest metro areas make the list, but Milwaukee is one of them, with pollen levels better than the national average in both spring and fall. In 2018, the EPA reported six days in the Milwaukee area that could be unhealthy for sensitive groups.

Learn more about Milwaukee.

11. Des Moines, Iowa

11. Des Moines, Iowa

Downtown Des Moines skyline and Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway bridge, with a sea of puffy clouds in the background and the Des Moines River in the foreground.

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2019 Rank: 5
Metro Area Population: 623,113
Median Home Price: $178,942
Median Annual Salary: $50,600
Air Quality Rank: 25

Des Moines’ spring and fall allergy seasons are fairly evenly matched. The Iowa capital’s air quality rank of No. 25 helps it to reach the 11th spot on this list.

Learn more about Des Moines.

10. Salt Lake City

10. Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City Aerial View, Utah. USA

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2019 Rank: 24
Metro Area Population: 2,399,521
Median Home Price: $324,198
Median Annual Salary: $47,272
Air Quality Rank: 105

Ranking fifth-best for spring allergies and 10th for allergies in the fall, Salt Lake City sees mild pollen levels compared to most of the U.S. The EPA reported 33 unhealthy days for sensitive groups and generally unhealthy days due to air quality in 2018.

Learn more about Salt Lake City.

9. Melbourne, Florida

9. Melbourne, Florida

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2019 Rank: 25
Metro Area Population: 568,183
Median Home Price: $198,425
Median Annual Salary: $48,240
Air Quality Rank: 22

The Melbourne metro area’s spring pollen levels are on par with the national average, but fewer residents need to turn to allergy medicine to help curb symptoms.

Learn more about Melbourne.

8. Colorado Springs, Colorado

8. Colorado Springs, Colorado

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2019 Rank: 3
Metro Area Population: 698,595
Median Home Price: $286,700
Median Annual Salary: $50,050
Air Quality Rank: 96

While Colorado Springs ranks in the top 10 on the AAFA lists for mild fall and spring allergy seasons, its air quality is low compared to the 125 most populous metro areas in the U.S. The Colorado Springs area saw eight unhealthy days for sensitive groups due to air quality in 2018.

Learn more about Colorado Springs.

7. Spokane, Washington

7. Spokane, Washington

Last minute vacation in Spokane, Washington.

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2019 Rank: 65
Metro Area Population: 547,688
Median Home Price: $221,800
Median Annual Salary: $47,320
Air Quality Rank: 32

This eastern Washington metro area is known for its access to plenty of outdoor activities, which may make for fewer allergy sufferers who acclimate quickly or simply aren’t allergic to pollen, as less allergy medicine is used in the area than the national average. Additionally, Spokane ranks 32nd for air quality out of the 125 most populous metro areas in the U.S.

Learn more about Spokane.

6. Daytona Beach, Florida

6. Daytona Beach, Florida

Daytona Beach, Florida, US

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2019 Rank: 99
Metro Area Population: 623,675
Median Home Price: $192,817
Median Annual Salary: $38,170
Air Quality Rank: 26

Like in many of the coastal Florida metro areas that make the list, the sea air and breezes here help reduce pollutants in the air and help pollen dissipate once it’s in the air. As a result, allergy sufferers in both fall and spring have to rely on allergy medicine less than the national average, according to AAFA.

Learn more about Daytona Beach.

5. Sarasota, Florida

5. Sarasota, Florida

Going toward Downtown Sarasota from from the Ringling Bridge

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2019 Rank: 18
Metro Area Population: 768,381
Median Home Price: $237,260
Median Annual Salary: $42,680
Air Quality Rank: 12

Sarasota ranks 12th for air quality, as the EPA tracked 271 good or moderate days for air quality in 2018. Sarasota’s spring pollen levels are average, but during fall levels are lower than much of the U.S.

Learn more about Sarasota.

4. Seattle

4. Seattle

The Smith Tower Observatory is one of the oldest Skyscraper in Seattle

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2019 Rank: 9
Metro Area Population: 3,735,216
Median Home Price: $442,333
Median Annual Salary: $63,120
Air Quality Rank: 58

The rainier weather in the Pacific Northwest leads to plenty of foliage in and around Seattle, but it doesn’t appear to make allergies particularly bad. Pollen levels in spring and fall are below the national average.

Learn more about Seattle.

3. San Jose, California

3. San Jose, California

San Jose California

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2019 Rank: 14
Metro Area Population: 1,969,897
Median Home Price: $1,080,017
Median Annual Salary: $77,180
Air Quality Rank: 44

San Jose’s pollen levels are low compared to most of the U.S. in both fall and spring. Additionally, San Jose is one of the few metro areas on the list that has a better-than-average ratio of board-certified allergists per patient, according to the AAFA.

Learn more about San Jose.

2. Boise, Idaho

2. Boise, Idaho

(Anna Gorin/Getty Images)

Best Places 2019 Rank: 17
Metro Area Population: 677,346
Median Home Price: $221,475
Median Annual Salary: $43,880
Air Quality Rank: 80

If you’re looking for a smaller metro where you can enjoy nearby outdoor attractions without fearing itchy eyes and a runny nose, you should consider Boise. The AAFA reports show Boise is one of the best places to be for lower-than-average pollen levels in spring and fall.

Learn more about Boise.

1. Portland, Oregon

1. Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon is one of the best couples vacations

(Getty Images)

Best Places 2019 Rank: 8
Metro Area Population: 2,382,037
Median Home Price: $375,425
Median Annual Salary: $55,330
Air Quality Rank: 3

Pollen levels in Portland are better than the national average, and the EPA notes just one day in 2018 when the air quality was unhealthy for sensitive groups. As a result, Portland takes the No. 1 spot as the Best Place to Live in the U.S. for Allergy Sufferers.

Learn more about Portland.

The Best Places to Live in the U.S. for Allergy Sufferers Are:

The Best Places to Live in the U.S. for Allergy Sufferers Are:

USA, Florida, Stuart, Aerial view of suburbs

(Getty Images)

  • Portland, Oregon
  • Boise, Idaho
  • San Jose, California
  • Seattle
  • Sarasota, Florida
  • Dayton Beach, Florida
  • Spokane, Washington
  • Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Melbourne, Florida
  • Salt Lake City
  • Des Moines, Iowa
  • Milwaukee
  • Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina
  • San Francisco
  • Denver
  • Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Rochester, New York
  • Lakeland, Florida
  • Worcester, Massachusetts
  • Orlando, Florida
  • Baltimore
  • Stockton, California
  • Boston
  • Tampa, Florida

Read More

Devon Thorsby is the Real Estate editor at U.S. News & World Report, where she writes consumer-focused articles about the homebuying and selling process, home improvement, tenant rights and the state of the housing market.

She has appeared in media interviews across the U.S. including National Public Radio, WTOP (Washington, D.C.) and KOH (Reno, Nevada) and various print publications, as well as having served on panels discussing real estate development, city planning policy and homebuilding.

Previously, she served as a researcher of commercial real estate transactions and information, and is currently a member of the National Association of Real Estate Editors. Thorsby studied Political Science at the University of Michigan, where she also served as a news reporter and editor for the student newspaper The Michigan Daily. Follow her on Twitter or write to her at dthorsby@usnews.com.

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