Nonallergic rhinitis (NAR) can be defined as a chronic nasal inflammation which is not caused by systemic IgE-dependent mechanisms. It is common and probably affects far more than 200 million people worldwide. Both children and adults are affected. However, its exact prevalence is unknown and its phenotypes need to be evaluated using appropriate methods to better understand its pathophysiology, diagnosis and management. It is important to differentiate between infectious rhinitis, allergic/NAR and chronic rhinosinusitis, as management differs for each of these cases. Characterization of the phenotype, mechanisms and management of NAR represents one of the major unmet needs in allergic and nonallergic diseases. Studies on children and adults are required in order to appreciate the prevalence, phenotype, severity and co-morbidities of NAR. These studies should compare allergic and NAR and consider different age group populations including elderly subjects. Mechanistic studies should be carried out to better understand the disease(s) and risk factors and to guide towards an improved diagnosis and therapy. These studies need to take the heterogeneity of NAR into account. It is likely that neuronal mechanisms, T cells, innate immunity and possibly auto-immune responses all play a role in NAR and may also contribute to the symptoms of allergic rhinitis.