Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Allergies Health Center

Font Size

Allergy Statistics and Facts

How many people in the U.S. are allergic -- to ragweed pollen, cat dander, or food? What sort of impact do allergies have on society? Here's a rundown of some of the most important allergy statistics -- based on the best available data.

  • Number of people in the U.S. who have either allergy or asthma symptoms: one in five.
  • Percentage of the U.S. population that tests positive to one or more allergens: 55%.
  • Rank of allergies among other leading chronic diseases in the U.S.: 5th.
  • One estimate of the annual cost of allergies to the health care system and businesses in the U.S.: $7.9 billion.
  • Number of workdays lost each year as a result of hay fever: 4 million.
  • Number of weeks by which the ragweed pollen season has increased in the last 10 to 15 years, likely as a result of global warming: four.
  • Odds that a child with one allergic parent will develop allergies: 33%.
  • Odds that a child with two allergic parents will develop allergies: 70%.
  • Number of ER visits in the U.S. caused by food allergies each year: 30,000.
  • Percentage of the people in the U.S. who believe they have a food allergy: up to 15%.
  • Percentage of the people in the U.S. who actually have a food allergy: 3% to 4%.
  • Percentage of our lives that we spend indoors: 90%.
  • Degree by which levels of indoor pollution in U.S. homes exceed levels of outdoor pollution: two to 100 times, depending on factors such as whether the residents smoke.
  • Percentage of U.S. households with one or more dogs: 39%.
  • Percentage of U.S. households with one or more cats: 33%.
  • Percentage of all U.S. households with detectable levels of dog and cat dander: 100%.
  • Percentage of people in the U.S. that have asthma: 8%.
  • From 2001 through 2009, asthma rates rose the most among black children, almost a 50% increase.
  •  On average, in 2008 children missed 4 days of school and adults missed 5 days of work because of asthma.
  • Percentage of people hospitalized for asthma who are children: About 44%. 
  • Number of deaths each year in the U.S. from asthma: 3,447 in 2007.
  • Number of people with chronic allergy-like symptoms -- runny nose, congestion and cough -- but who have nonallergic rhinitis instead: one out of three.

 

Recommended Related to Allergies

How to Survive Spring Allergy Season

Spring is in the air. Literally. From weeds to spores to grass and tree pollens, the warm weather is almost here, driving airborne allergen levels through the roof. That means your allergy symptoms -- the sniffling, sneezing, and itchy eyes -- are in overdrive and apt to stay that way for months. What can you do? WebMD asked some of the country's leading allergy experts to weigh in with answers to your top questions about spring allergies. Here are suggestions for helping you find some much-needed...

Read the How to Survive Spring Allergy Season article > >

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Kimball Johnson, MD on August 02, 2012

Today on WebMD

man blowing nose
Make these tweaks to your diet, home, and lifestyle.
Allergy capsule
Breathe easier with these products.
 
cat on couch
Live in harmony with your cat or dog.
Woman sneezing with tissue in meadow
Which ones affect you?
 

woman sneezing
Slideshow
Bottle of allergy capsules and daisies
Article
 
Urban blossoms
Slideshow
Woman blowing nose
Slideshow
 

Woman with itchy watery eyes
Slideshow
Allergy prick test
VIDEO
 
Man sneezing into tissue
Tools
woman with duster crinkling nose
Quiz