More than five million patients covered by statutory health insurance were diagnosed hay fever in 2019. This corresponds to a share of 7.1 per cent. Only 4.2 million insured patients in Germany were treated for hay fever in 2010. The number of people with the disease increased by 19 per cent.
Hay fever was slightly more prevalent among female patients, with a share of 7.2 per cent, than among male patients at 6.9 per cent.
These are the key results of a study published at the end of July 2021 by the Central Research Institute of Ambulatory Health Care in Germany (Zi).
Clear division between urban and rural areas
The prevalence of hay fever was documented from 2010 to 2019. It shows a clear division between urban and rural areas. Hay fever was least prevalent in rural areas. The more urbanised the place of residence, the higher the prevalence of hay fever: In 2019, the incidence of the disease in sparsely populated rural areas was 6.6 per cent, compared with 7.8 per cent in independent major cities.
Exception: children, adolescents and young adults
The incidence of the disease varies according to age and whether the person lives in the city or in the country. There was a division between urban and rural areas for most age groups.
But not so for children, adolescents and young adults up to 24 years: In these age groups, the lowest rates of the disease were observed in independent major cities – in other words, the regions with the highest degree of urbanisation. Therefore the opposite is true for the age group 0 to 24 years, in contrast to all other age groups.
Versorgungsatlas (health care atlas) provides information from healthcare research in German. It mainly focuses on studies and mappings of regional differences in healthcare.
Press release of the Central Research Institute of Ambulatory Health Care in Germany (Zi) from 27 July 2021:
Zi veröffentlicht Studie zur regionalen Verbreitung von Heuschnupfen in Deutschland (Zi releases study on the regional occurrence of hay fever in Germany) (In German)
Holstiege J et al. Urban-rural differences in the occurrence of hay fever in Germany. Central Research Institute of Ambulatory Health Care in Germany (Zi). Versorgungsatlas Report no. 21/07. Berlin 2021.