Asthma Facts and Figures
Asthma causes swelling of the airways. This results in narrowing of the airways that carry air from the nose and mouth to the lungs. Allergens or irritating things entering the lungs trigger asthma symptoms. Symptoms include trouble breathing, wheezing, coughing and tightness in the chest. In severe cases, asthma can be deadly.
- There is no cure for asthma, but asthma can be managed with proper prevention and treatment.
- More Americans than ever before have asthma. It is one of this country's most common and costly diseases.
How Common Is Asthma?
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 13 people have asthma.1
- About 25 million Americans have asthma. This is 7.6 percent of adults and 8.4 percent of children. Asthma has been increasing since the early 1980s in all age, sex and racial groups.3
- Asthma is the leading chronic disease in children. It is also the top reason for missed school days.6
- Asthma is more common in adult women than adult men.1
- Asthma is more common in children than adults and more common in boys than girls.1
- Currently, there are 6.2 million people with asthma under the age of 18.3
- African-Americans in the US die from asthma at a higher rate than people of other races or ethnicities.4
- More than 11.5 million people with asthma, including nearly 3 million children, report having had one or more asthma attacks in 2015.4
- In 2015, 1 in 12 children had asthma.4
- In 2013, about 13.8 million missed school days were reported due to asthma.4
How Many People Get Sick from Asthma?
- Asthma accounts for 14.2 million physician office visits, 439,000 discharges from hospital inpatient care, and 1.8 million emergency department visits each year.7
- The average length of asthma hospital stays is 3.6 days.6
- Asthma is the third-ranking cause of hospitalization among children younger than 15.7
- African-Americans are three times more likely to be hospitalized from asthma.1
How Many People Die from Asthma?
- Each day, ten Americans die from asthma, and in 2015, 3,615 people died from asthma. Many of these deaths are avoidable with proper treatment and care.5
- Adults are four times more likely to die from asthma than children.5
- Women are more likely to die from asthma than men and boys are more likely than girls.5
- African-Americans are three times more likely to die from asthma.1
What Are the Costs of Asthma?
- The annual economic cost of asthma is more than $56 billion – including medical costs and lost of work an school days.4
- Among children ages 5 to 17, asthma is one of the top causes of missed school days. In 2013, it accounted for more than 13.8 million missed school days.1
What Ethnic Groups Have Higher Asthma Rates?
- See AAFA's groundbreaking research report on Disparities in Asthma Care. It was published with the National Pharmaceutical Council.
- Ethnic differences in asthma frequency, illness and death are highly connected with poverty, city air quality, indoor allergens, not enough patient education and poor health care.
- The rate of asthma and the prevalence of asthma attacks is highest among Puerto Ricans compared to all ethnic groups.5
- Black children have the highest prevalence of asthma.5
- African Americans are three times more likely to stay in the hospital from asthma.5
- African Americans are three times more likely to die from asthma especially African American women, than any other group.1
- About 13.4% of African American children have asthma. Roughly, 7.4% of white children have asthma.5
- Black Americans in the US die from asthma at a higher rate than people of other races or ethnicities.4
Do Men or Women Have Higher Rates of Asthma?
- 9.7% of women aged 18 years or older have asthma compared to 5.4% of men.5
- Women are more likely to die from asthma than men.5
What Age Group Has a Higher Rate of Asthma?
- 18.4 million adults aged 18 years and over currently have asthma.1
- An average of 1 out of every 12 school-aged children have asthma.4
- 3.4% of children with asthma are more likely to use a hospital emergency room.4
- Boys are more likely to have asthma than girls. But women are more likely to have asthma than men.5
- Adults are nearly four times more likely than children to die from asthma.5
- The asthma death rate is higher among people 18 or older.5
 United States Environmental Protection Agency. Asthma Facts. May 2017. https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2017-08/documents/2017_asthma_fact_sheet.pdf. (Retrieved August 18 2017)
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Asthma in Schools. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/asthma/. (Retrieved August 18 2017)