Media Resources: Media Kit June 2006

Asthma Statistics

  • Approximately 20 million Americans have asthma. 1
  • Nine million U.S. children under 18 have been diagnosed with asthma. 2
  • More than four million children have had an asthma attack in the previous year. 2
  • More than 70% of people with asthma also suffer from allergies. 3
  • 10 million Americans suffer specifically from allergic asthma. 4
  • The prevalence of asthma increased 75% from 1980-1994. 5
  • Asthma rates in children under the age of five have increased more than 160% from 1980-1994. 5
  • In 2003, there were 12.7 million physician office visits and 1.2 million outpatient department visits due to asthma. 1
  • There were 1.9 million asthma-related visits to emergency departments in 2002. 1
  • There are approximately 5,000 deaths from asthma annually. 1
  • Direct health care costs for asthma in the United States total more than $11.5 billion annually; indirect costs (lost productivity) add another $4.6 billion for a total of $16.1 billion. Prescription drugs represented the largest single direct medical expenditure, over $5 billion. 1
  • 12.8 million school days are missed annually due to asthma. 1
  • The value of reduced productivity due to death represented the largest single indirect cost related to asthma, approaching $1.7 billion. 1
  • Asthma accounts for approximately 24.5 million missed work days for adults annually. 1
  • Asthma prevalence is 39% higher in African Americans than in whites. 1
  • The prevalence of asthma in adult females was 35% greater than the rate in males, in 2003. 1
  • Approximately 40% of children who have asthmatic parents will develop asthma. 6

  1. American Lung Association. Epidemiology & statistics Unit, Research and Program Services. Trends in Asthma Morbidity and Mortality May 2005.
  2. Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Children: National Health Interview Survey, 2002. Series 10, Number 221.2004-1549
  3. National Library of Medicine. Understanding Allergy and Asthma. National Institutes of Health.
  4. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. Fact Sheet #9: Asthma and its Environmental Triggers: Scientists Take a Practical New Look at a Familiar Illness .
  5. Centers for Disease Control. Surveillance for Asthma United States, 1960-1995, MMWR. 1998; 47 (SS-1).
  6. Martinez FD, Wright AL, Taussig LM, et al.: Asthma and wheezing in the first six years of life, N Engl J Med 1995; 332:133-138.