Where is the best place in the world to live if you have allergies?

Allergies affect millions of people worldwide. According to the World Allergy Organization, between 10 and 40% of people are affected by allergic rhinitis or hay fever. For people with allergies, finding a place to live with minimal triggers can greatly improve quality of life. When considering the best places in the world for people with allergies, several key factors come into play.

What causes allergies?

Allergies occur when the immune system overreacts to harmless substances called allergens. Common allergy triggers include:

  • Pollen – From trees, grasses, weeds
  • Dust mites
  • Mold
  • Pet dander – Skin flakes from cats, dogs, rodents
  • Insect stings and bites
  • Foods – Peanuts, shellfish, wheat, soy
  • Medications
  • Latex

When exposed to an allergen, the body releases chemicals like histamine that defend against foreign invaders. This causes allergy symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, hives, and breathing difficulties.

Key factors for low allergen locations

To minimize allergy symptoms, the ideal location will have some or all of these characteristics:

  • Low pollen counts – Due to climate, geography, urban environments
  • Low humidity – Limits mold growth
  • Elevation – Higher elevations have fewer insects and allergens
  • Air quality – Places with good air quality have lower levels of pollution and allergens
  • Access to healthcare – Quality medical care to help manage allergies

Best cities and countries for allergies worldwide

Based on the criteria above, here are some of the best places to live with allergies globally:

United States

  • Portland, Oregon – Mild, wet climate helps wash pollen away. Ranked #1 city for allergy sufferers by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
  • San Diego, California – Warm, dry weather limits mold. Ranked low for pollen and high for air quality.
  • Seattle, Washington – Wet, moderate climate. Low on allergy triggers.
  • Denver, Colorado – High elevation with low humidity. Cleaner air due to distance from pollution sources.
  • Rochester, Minnesota – Low pollen and asthma triggers. Reputed healthcare at Mayo Clinic.


  • Vancouver – Wet climate and air filters from surrounding forests. Ranked low for allergy symptoms.
  • Victoria – Near Vancouver with similar climate. Minimal allergy triggers.
  • Windsor – Southwestern Ontario location with low pollen and pollution.


  • Reykjavik, Iceland – Cold weather limits pollen and mold. Clean air due to lack of heavy industry.
  • Dublin, Ireland – Wet, windy climate keeps pollen down. Ranked low for hay fever symptoms.
  • Helsinki, Finland – Cold winters lower mold and insects. Clean air and healthcare access.

Asia and Oceania

  • Singapore – Warm and wet tropical climate washes pollen away. Pollution can be a downside.
  • Wellington, New Zealand – Windy climate prevents pollen buildup. Low humidity limits mold.
  • Perth, Australia – Dry climate with low humidity. Isolated location has clean air.

Worst places for allergies

In contrast, here are some of the worst cities and countries for those with allergies:

United States

  • Richmond, Virginia – High pollen counts, humidity, and asthma triggers
  • Memphis, Tennessee – Warm, humid climate enables allergens
  • McAllen, Texas – Nearby farmland increases pollen exposure
  • Louisville, Kentucky – “Allergy capital of America” due to high pollen


  • Vienna, Austria – Hotspot for birch tree pollen due to forestry
  • Sofia, Bulgaria – High pollen levels from urban plants and grasses
  • Bucharest, Romania – Pollution contributes to allergy symptoms


  • Beijing, China – Very high pollution levels worsen allergies
  • Tokyo, Japan – Cedar pollen is a major issue from February to April
  • Seoul, South Korea – Asian dust blows in pollen and particulate matter

Tips for relocating to minimize allergies

When moving to a new place, keep these tips in mind to reduce exposure to allergens:

  • Research allergen levels and air quality before moving.
  • Avoid areas near fields and farms which have high pollen.
  • Visit the new location in different seasons to check allergy symptoms.
  • Choose a central apartment or home to avoid pollen from trees.
  • Install high efficiency air filters when possible.
  • Schedule appointments with allergists in the area before relocating.
  • Identify any new potential triggers that were not present in your previous home.

Living comfortably with allergies

While location plays a big role, people with allergies can also take other steps to control symptoms:

  • Keep windows closed and use air conditioning to filter air.
  • Wash bedding weekly in hot water to reduce dust mites.
  • Vacuum with a HEPA filter and dust regularly.
  • Limit carpet which harbors allergens and mold.
  • Bath pets weekly if they are allowed indoors.
  • Wear a pollen mask outdoors on high allergen days.
  • Change clothes and wash hair after going outside.
  • Limit outdoor time early in the morning when pollen is highest.

Medications can also provide allergy relief:

  • Antihistamines – Block histamine release to control symptoms
  • Nasal corticosteroids – Reduce inflammation in the nasal passages
  • Immunotherapy – Allergy shots to desensitize your immune response
  • Biologics – Target specific proteins involved in allergic reactions

The takeaway

Allergies can significantly impact quality of life. Finding a place to live with minimal allergy triggers and good healthcare access enables people with allergies to breathe easier.

The best cities and countries for allergies tend to have wetter, colder climates which limit pollen, mold, and insects. Higher elevations also provide cleaner air. Meanwhile, warmer, more humid locations closer to farmland and pollution see higher allergy rates.

With proper treatment and preventive measures, those with allergies can live comfortably in most places. However, relocating to an area optimized for allergies can make a world of difference.

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