Study: Allergies in North Dakota are nothing to sneeze at

BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — As anyone with allergies can tell you, they aren’t exactly something that people are happy to have. From sneezing to coughing and frequent sore throats, these seasonal and year-round concerns can be caused by all sorts of factors — ranging from pollen to dust to mold or even pet dander. And between the varying climates and plants of the states, it only stands to reason that those suffering from allergies will have it better (or worse) in different parts of the country.

To determine the allergy problems across each state, HouseFresh developed a set of variables that serve to measure the levels of pollen, dust, mold, and pet allergies around the US — including grass and ragweed pollen forecasts, the age-adjusted mortality rate of deaths due to dust-related causes, Google Trends data, and city-level Allergy Capital rankings from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (a full list of variables is available on the full study page). These variables were then pooled to obtain a total ‘allergy score’.

When every factor is weighed together, it was revealed that North Dakota is one of the worst states for allergies of almost every kind, having one of the highest overall scores in the nation.

Rank State Allergy Score
1 Kansas 53
2 Arkansas 50
3 North Dakota 48
4 Oklahoma 44
5 Massachusetts 42
6 Pennsylvania 42
7 New Hampshire 42
8 Missouri 41
9 Vermont 41
10 Texas 40

Many of the states with the highest allergy levels come from the Midwest — and ND is no exception. In a majority of categories, North Dakota ranked as one of the states with the highest scores. Here’s a list of the different allergens recorded in HouseFresh’s study, as well as where ND ranks in each category.


Pollen is most commonly spread through trees, grasses, and weeds — particularly Giant Ragweed. Unfortunately, this is a weed that exists in 75.5% of all North Dakota counties. Combined with ND’s high wind speeds that further spread pollen around the state, this means that ND has the highest pollen severity of any state in the country.

Rank State Total Pollen Score
1 North Dakota 53
2 Kansas 50
3 New Hampshire 47
4 Arkansas 46
5 Oklahoma 45


While it would be easy to infer that ND has its fair share of dust allergies, the study itself was rather inconclusive on the subject — so much so that there was actually no data for the state when it came to calculating dust allergies. As such, we can’t really get an estimate of how bad dust issues are when compared to other states — but we can certainly take a look at the states that do have high scores.

Rank State Total Dust Score
1 Vermont 100
2 Wisconsin 60
3 New Mexico 53
4 Idaho 53
5 Colorado 49

Pet Dander

According to the study, approximately 70% of households in the US own a pet — meaning that there’s pet dander scattered all throughout the country. In a state as open and outdoor-focused as North Dakota, it only stands to reason that this would also amount to a large number of allergies related to household pets. While ND is not at the top of the list when it comes to the states with the most pet dander, it’s still very high up, fitting comfortably at the tail end of the top five areas which struggle with flying fur the most.

Rank State Total Pet Dander Score
1 West Virginia 87
2 Arkansas 85
3 Maine 77
4 Nebraska 75
5 North Dakota 71


Despite concerns about mold (particularly in older rural houses and reservations), North Dakota’s overall concern when it comes to mold is relatively low. In fact, ND is actually one of the best states for those struggling with mold allergies, boasting a below-average score on HouseFresh’s study.

The top ten states with the lowest mold scores are as follows:

Rank State Total Mold Score
1 Hawaii 19
2 Nevada 21
3 Washington 25
4 Maine 28
5 Alabama 29
6 Arizona 29
7 Idaho 29
8 North Dakota 30
9 Oregon 31
10 New Mexico 31

To view the full results of the study for other states — including detailed maps of the country’s levels of various allergens — visit the results page on Housefresh’s website.

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