The hayfever phenomenon

Hayfever sufferer

Hayfever afflicts over three times as many of us today as it used to do.

27% of GB adults reported suffering from pollen or hayfever allergy in 2017, compared to just 8% in 1972.  The proportion grew steadily from 1972 to 17% in 2007, and then jumped significantly.

chart showing growth in UK hayfever 1972 to 2017Source: Kantar TGI

It’s possible that greater public awareness and discussion of allergy to pollen has contributed to more people reporting themselves as sufferers.  Perhaps overall public health or tolerance levels have altered.  Perhaps changes in air quality are playing their part.

Source: Kantar TGI

The pattern of change in suffering has varied by age group over the last 30 years.  More than four times as many over 55s suffered in 2017 than in 1987 (22% compared to 5%).  Meanwhile, at 29%, the level of suffering among 35-54s had caught up with that of 15-34s – who were previously the more likely victims, but among whom the affliction had not quite doubled.


TGI (Target Group Index) is a continuous survey which has been carried out in Great Britain since 1969, based on 25,000 adults per annum, who provide information on their use of all major products, brands and services. Media exposure, attitudinal and demographic data are also included. Kantar, who own and operate the TGI (Target Group Index) are making major donations of data to AMSR. Click here to explore the TGI archive within AMSR.

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