Facts and Statistics about Asthma

Facts and Statistics about Asthma

Asthma is a very common condition. Just about every American has probably had an encounter with it either from personal experience or from someone they know. To help raise awareness about just how much this health condition affects our country, we’ve compiled a list of asthma facts and statistics.



Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases in America, particularly for children and African-Americans:

• 1 in 14 people have asthma.

• 24 million Americans have asthma, which accounts for 7.4% of adults and 8.6% of children.

• Asthma has been increasing since the 1980s for every age, sex, and race. • Asthma is the most common chronic disease in children, and is the number one cause of missed school days (about 13.8 million every year).

• Asthma is also a common problem for adults, resulting in a total of 14.2 million missed work days every year.

• Asthma is more common in adult women than adult men.

• Asthma is more common in children than adults, and more common in boys than girls.

• Almost 6.3 million sufferers are under the age of 18.

• In 2011, the asthma rate for African-Americans was 47% higher than whites.

• Half of the people with asthma have at least one asthma attack every year. Children are more likely to have them than adults (57% vs. 51%).

• Asthma is estimated to cost $56 billion annually.


Asthma Among Ethnic Groups

The rates of people with asthma vary wildly between different ethnic groups:

• Asthma frequency depends on poverty, city air quality, indoor allergens, insufficient patient education, and poor health care.

• Rate of asthma and prevalence of asthma attacks is highest among Puerto Ricans when compared with all other ethnic groups. In fact, asthma is 80% higher in Puerto Ricans than Caucasians.

• 3 million Hispanics in the U.S. have asthma.

• African-Americans have seen the greatest rise in asthma recently. About one in six African-American children have asthma.

• African-Americans are three times more likely to stay in the hospital due to asthma. • African-Americans are three times more likely to die from asthma. African-American women have died from asthma more often than any other group.

• 16% of African-American children have asthma, while only 8% of Caucasian children have asthma.

• African-Americans visit the emergency room 330% more than Caucasians, and have 220% more hospital stays for asthma than Caucasians. Hospital and Emergency Room Visits Asthma is one of the most common reasons for hospital stays and emergency room visits:

• Almost 2 million emergency room visits each year are caused by asthma.

• Asthma causes more than 14 million doctor visits and 439,000 hospital stays every year.

• Related hospital stays last for an average of 3.6 days. • Asthma is the third-leading cause of hospital stays for children.

• African-Americans are three times more likely to be hospitalized from asthma. Deaths Unfortunately, not everyone makes it through their hospital visit:

• Ten Americans die from asthma every day. 3,630 Americans die from asthma every year.

• Many of these deaths could have been avoided had the patients been given proper treatment and care.

• Women seem to be more susceptible to death from asthma, making up almost 65% of related deaths. African-American women have the highest death rate from asthma than any other group.

• Asthma death rates have declined by 26% since 1999.

• African-Americans are three times more likely to die from asthma.



These facts and statistics are from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), and the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI). Be sure to take a look at our article on Allergy Facts and Statistics if you want to learn more about another common and potentially dangerous condition affecting America.


Treating Your Asthma

If you have not seen a doctor about your asthma symptoms, don’t delay: left untreated, it could cause you countless days of missed work – or worse, a trip to the hospital. Your best option is to see an experienced pulmonologist.

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