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Stats and facts icon Facts and Statistics About Asthma

Prevalence

  • Asthma is the most common chronic disease among children in the United States.
  • In 1996, there were estimated to be 14.6 million asthmatics in the United States with 4.4 million below the age of 18 years.
  • The number of people with asthma increased 73.9% from 1980 to 1996.
  • During 1999, 4,657 deaths were attributed to asthma in the US, with 78% occurring at or after 45 years of age.

Who is affected by asthma?

  • Asthma prevalence is higher among urban, poor, and minority populations.
  • In 1998, statistics showed that African Americans were 2.6 times more likely to die from asthma than whites.
  • Ethnicity and asthma is complex: Mexican-Americans have some of the lowest rates of asthma in the US, while Puerto Ricans reported some of the highest rates.
  • Asthma rates vary widely across the world.
  • Asthma appears to be a disease of developed countries.

Healthcare Impact

  • Asthma is the second leading cause of ER visits among children (behind injuries).
  • In 1999, asthma accounted for 2 million emergency room visits, a 26% increase since 1992.
  • Asthma also accounted for an estimated 478,000 hospitalizations in 1999, with 39% of all asthma hospitalizations occurring before age 15 years.
  • The economic burden of asthma was approximately $6.2 billion in the early 1990s.

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