Asthma Capitals: Asthma-Related Mortality

In AAFA's Asthma Capitals ReportDownload PDF, we ranked cities based on three health outcomes: asthma prevalence, asthma-related emergency department visits and asthma-related mortality rates. The outcomes were not weighted equally.


In 2015, there were 3,615 deaths due to asthma in the U.S.1 This means about 10 people per day lose their life to asthma. Older adults are at the highest risk of death. 

Age Disparity
As people age, their risk of dying from asthma increases. Seniors are more likely to be underdiagnosed, undertreated and managing multiple health conditions.


Risk of death by asthma increases as you age

Racial Disparity

African Americans in the U.S. die from asthma at a higher rate than people of other races or ethnicities, according to the Office of Minority Health (U.S. Department of Human Health and Services):2

  • In 2015, African American women were 20% more likely to have asthma than non-Hispanic whites.
  • In 2014, African Americans were almost three times more likely to die from asthma-related causes than the white population.
  • In 2015, African American children had a death rate ten times that of non-Hispanic white children. 

Gender Disparity

  • In children, more boys die from asthma than girls.
  • In adults, women have a higher risk of dying from asthma than men.

To reduce the risk of death from asthma, it is important to:

  • Control asthma by taking prescribed medicines and updating care providers if symptoms are occurring more than twice per week.
  • Avoid or reduce exposure to asthma triggers.
  • Learn the signs and symptoms of asthma, including early warning signals.
  • Have an Asthma Action Plan and take quick action according to the plan.

If you ever feel your life or your child’s life is in danger, get emergency help right away. An Asthma Action Plan can help you know when you are in danger. It uses Red, Yellow, and Green Zones for your symptoms. If you are in the Red Zone, it is a medical emergency. AAFA has an Asthma Action Plan template you can use to discuss your treatment plan with your health care provider.

Risk of Asthma Fatality by City

Laura and Peter ImagePeter DeMarco lost his wife, Laura Levis, to asthma. He wrote an essay about her story, titled "What Laura Would Tell You About Asthma, If She Could."

Peter and Laura lived in Boston, Massachusetts, #8 on our Asthma Capitals report. Boston has the third highest number of asthma deaths in the U.S., which factored into its ranking. It also has a high number of residents with asthma.






1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017, November 27). National vital statistics reports, Vol 66, No 6. Retrieved from

2. Office of Minority Health. (n.d.). Retrieved March 13, 2019, from