Best and worst places for asthma and allergy in 2011 – hats off, Portland!

Asthma report for 2011

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) recently published its “Asthma Capitals” report for 2011. Each year AAFA researches, compiles, analyzes, and compares data from its own surveys as well as numerous U.S Government and other qualified agencies, and provides reports for the challenges allergy and asthma sufferers face in areas across the U.S. AAFA weighs a number of factors in their rankings. For more about AAFA and their work and reports, see references below.

Worst places for asthma and allergy

Richmond, VA, tops the AAFA 2011 list as the most challenging place to live with asthma, followed by Knoxville, TN, in second place, and Memphis, TN, in third. With four Tennessee cities in the top ten list, it seems perhaps Tennessee wins the trophy for most challenging State Asthma Capital in 2011. However, this latter conclusion is merely speculation on my part, and not part of the AAFA report.

For fall allergies, Dayton, OH, took first place (for worst) in AAFA’s “Fall Allergy Capitals,” 2010, followed by Wichita, KS, in second, and Louisville, KY placing third.

Best places for asthma and allergy

I’m often asked about best places for asthma and allergy sufferers. The AAFA compares the 100 largest U.S. cities for their report, with the areas at the bottom of the list being “better than average” areas for those with asthma. This puts the 100th ranked Portland, OR, area in first place for better areas for those with asthma, 99th ranked San Francisco, CA, area in second, and 98th ranked Colorado Springs, CO, area in third for 2011.

In the AAFA “Fall Allergy Capitals,” 2010, Portland, OR, also took the 100th spot, followed by Seattle, WA, in 99th, and San Diego, CA, in 98th. Hats off to Portland!

It’s important to remember that many factors go into determining which area is best for you. Your allergies may be completely different from those of others who report problems or relief in a specific area. Keep in mind also that moving away from one area’s allergens can lead to development of new allergies to prevalent allergens where you move.

Investigate info from AAFA’s “Asthma Capitals,” as well as their fall and spring “Allergy Capitals” reports, including prevalence, risk, and medical factors for cities nearest areas which you are considering for possible relocation. Search others’ experiences here at “Allergy Climates and Seasons,” repeat visits to areas you are interested in during each season of the year, and stay as long as possible with each visit to areas where you might potentially want to live. Before you make the move, talk with people in the area about common allergies, and ask if there other environmental or health-related concerns in that area which you may not have considered.


  1. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA).
  2. Asthma Capitals.
  3. Allergy Capitals.
  4. We appreciate the extensive research, data gathering, and compilation provided by AAFA. Their efforts to promote quality air enriches life for all of us. We have referenced their reports several times through the years in an effort to provide current information for allergy sufferers.

10 thoughts on “Best and worst places for asthma and allergy in 2011 – hats off, Portland!”

  1. My wife has asthma very bad, we are about to be sent to Ft Bliss El Paso. I have heard it’s bad there with dust storms how bad is it?

  2. I lived in Seattle ,WA and I had the worse allergies due to the mold. With the weather constantly being gloomy and raining, I can’t imagine Portland, OR being better with allergies especially since it rains more there. Yes, I have visited Portland before and my allergies were just as bad as if I was living in Seattle.

  3. i recently took a plane ride from canton, ohio to portland/vancouver. i spent 10 days out there for the first time ever and i am a SEVERE asthmatic. emergency room 2 times a tear even while using meds. ive had 4 collapsed lungs, and im only 20… i went out to portland and used my inhaler 3 times in 10 days! its perfect for asthma!

  4. Lived in the bay area and moved to sacramento ca in 2000 got diagnosef with asthma and allergies…. Its very bad here…….. Lived in seattle for 4 months symptom free no problems breathed great and felt better!!!!

  5. Portland is a TERRIBLE place for asthmatics and people with allergies! We moved to California when I was 6 and no problems until we moved back here! Ask any doctor in Portland and they will tell you this is NOT a good place for asthma or allergies! In the summer there is a lot of dust, particulates, pollution, pollen, air inversion and some smoke from forest fires in the summer. It is hell for someone with asthma! I can barely go outside. If you research, you will find the best place to live is near the ocean, as free from dust, pollen and air pollution as possible. I am moving to the Oregon coast where the air is fresh and clean! My quality of life is greatly diminished by living in Portland!

  6. I was born in the Central Valley of California, and moved to LA in 1977. I moved back to the Central Valley in 1984, and was diagnosed with asthma shortly thereafter. I have been taking daily medication for some time now. I went to visit my daughter in Madrid last year, and I did not use my medicine one time in the entire two and a half week period. I’m back in California, and I have to take the medication again. Go figure!

  7. Hi, I just moved from the Oregon Coast town Seaside to St Helens or. I am so ill. I have four bad lung infections with horrable asthma. I just can not seem to get well. When I lived almost 10 years in Seaside I hardly got a cold. As long as you do not get mold in your house it is wonderful. But it is rainy and gloomy. I would take that over laying here in bed coughing all night for weeks any day. We hope to move back in a couple of years. We made the mistake, we bought a house instead of renting to see how my asthma would handle it. And it did not handle it.

  8. well trying to find the right place to live with my asthma and allergies. but what i have read it looks like idaho may be a good place,. right now i,m living in western massachusetts, and absolutely terrible.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *