Skip to main content

AAFA Releases the 2021 Allergy Capitals™ Report


Many children with food allergies have other allergic diseases – like asthma, eczema, and nasal allergies (allergic rhinitis). If your child sniffles and sneezes more with the changing seasons, pollen allergies could be the cause. Allergic sensitivity to airborne pollen from trees, grasses, or weeds can cause allergy symptoms.

The reason many children have related allergic conditions is because of the "allergic march" or “atopic march.” It often starts with dry skin, which may lead to eczema, food allergies, and then asthma.

About 15% of children have seasonal allergic rhinitis or respiratory allergies.1 And most kids with asthma have allergic asthma. This type of asthma is triggered by allergens such as pollen, mold, dust mites, and cockroaches. Because of the connection of allergic diseases, parents of children with food allergies need to know about managing seasonal allergies.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) has released its 2021 Allergy Capitals™ report. This report ranks the top 100 most challenging cities in the continental United States to live with seasonal pollen allergies.

The report includes both spring and fall data to create a ranking of the top 100 cities based on:

  • Spring and fall pollen scores
  • Over-the-counter medicine use
  • Availability of board-certified allergists

This year, Scranton, Pennsylvania, is our top Allergy Capital. The full report of the top 100 areas also includes separate rankings for spring and fall allergies.

The top 10 most challenging cities overall to live in with seasonal allergies in 2021 are:

  1. Scranton, Pennsylvania
  2. Richmond, Virginia
  3. Wichita, Kansas
  4. McAllen, Texas
  5. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  6. Hartford, Connecticut
  7. Springfield, Massachusetts
  8. New Haven, Connecticut
  9. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  10. Bridgeport, Connecticut

Tweet this

The report also looks at the impacts of climate change and COVID-19 on seasonal allergies. Research found that children felt the least impact from seasonal allergies due to closed schools and less time spent outdoors. COVID-19 restrictions limited their exposure to pollen.

The report also includes tips on how to reduce your child's exposure to pollen.

“It’s important people with seasonal allergies prepare. They should try their best to reduce exposure to pollen,” said Dr. Mitchell Grayson, Chair of AAFA’s Medical Scientific Council and Director of the Division of Allergy and Immunology and Professor of Pediatrics at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and The Ohio State University. “Schedule an appointment with your allergist to work on a treatment plan together to help reduce allergy symptoms when prevention is not enough.”

Does your child have seasonal allergy symptoms? Talk with their allergist about testing and a treatment plan. Treating seasonal allergies can help improve quality of life for your child.

To see where your city ranks and for ways to manage spring and fall pollen allergies, visit

1. Table 12. Health conditions among children under age 18, by selected characteristics: United States, average annual, selected years 1997–1999 through 2015–2017. (2019, October 30). Retrieved from https://www.cdc. gov/nchs/data/hus/2018/012.pdf

How Can I Learn More About the Report?
The Allergy Capitals™ ranking is an annual research and education project from AAFA. We release the report to help people recognize, prevent and safely treat allergy symptoms. Through this ranking, AAFA raises awareness about the impact of spring and fall seasonal allergies. It provides helpful information that can improve the quality of life for people living with seasonal allergies.

Kids With Food Allergies (KFA) is the food allergy division of AAFA.

Visit to see the full list and to learn more about allergy diagnosis, prevention and treatment.

Join our online community where you can get support for asthma and allergies and stay up to date on news and research.

Kids With Food Allergies (KFA) is a division of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). AAFA is the largest and oldest nonprofit patient organization dedicated to asthma and allergies. KFA educates families and communities with practical food allergy management strategies to save lives and improve the quality of life for children and their families. Our online community includes public blogs. To post a comment, you will need to register or sign in. Registered members have access to additional specialized support forums for food allergies. Registration is free!

Add Comment

Comments (0)

Kids With Food Allergies
A Division of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
1235 South Clark Street Suite 305, Arlington, VA 22202
Phone: 1-800-7-ASTHMA (1.800.727.8462)
Link copied to your clipboard.