Asthma Capitals 2018: Estimated Asthma Prevalence

In the AAFA's Asthma Capitals 2018 ReportDownload PDF , AAFA 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.


Asthma prevalence is the number of people in an area who have asthma. Here are some facts about asthma prevalence:

  • About 7.8% of people in the U.S. have asthma
  • 7.6% of adults 18 or older have asthma
  • It is more common in children than in adults
  • 8.4% of children under 18 have asthma

Factors like gender, race/ethnicity, social and economic status are linked to asthma. It is more common in male children than females. Non-Hispanic blacks and Puerto Ricans are also more likely to have asthma than non-Hispanic whites.

People who live below 100% of the poverty level are more likely to have asthma than those above the poverty level.1

Asthma rates can also vary from state to state and city to city. Do you know how common asthma is in your city? Do you know about resources in your local county to help with asthma management?

stimated asthma prevalence in the U.S. by city
Asthma can have a significant effect on lifestyle. Many people with asthma go to great lengths to avoid their asthma triggers to prevent flare-ups. Lynn Johnson of Birmingham, Alabama (#8 Asthma Capital overall), was diagnosed with asthma as an adult, around 2011. A big challenge for her has been the lifestyle changes that her asthma required. For example, to avoid strong smells, Johnson switched to using only scent-free products.

“Literally anything that comes into my house must be scent-free,” she says.

This includes cleaning products, deodorant, soaps, shampoo and more. This goes for the products that Johnson’s husband and two teenage sons use, too. Even her sons’ friends know not to wear any perfumes, colognes or other scented products when they come over to the Johnson’s house.

Her family is also supportive of some of the changes they have had to make at home. For example, they must have a generator for the nebulizers in case their power goes out. (A nebulizer is a medical device that some people with asthma use to turn liquid medicine into a mist and inhale into the lungs.) Vacations, outings and social events all require a lot more planning and awareness. Lynn’s asthma affects the family’s budget, too.

“Even though lifestyle changes have to be made, it doesn’t mean your life stops,” Lynn adds. “You learn to work around it. Stay as active as you can. Enjoy life. You have to make accommodations for it, but asthma doesn’t have to run your life.”




1. CDC - Asthma - Most Recent Asthma Data. (2018, February 13). Retrieved from