People and asthma
1 in 9 Australians have asthma – around 2.5 million.
It’s more common in males aged 0–14, but among those aged 15 and over, asthma is more common in females.
The rate of asthma among Indigenous Australians is almost twice as high as that of non-Indigenous Australians. This is even more marked in the older adult age group.
Asthma is more common in people living in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas.
The prevalence of asthma is significantly higher in people living in inner regional areas compared with people living in major cities or outer regional and remote areas.
Only 20% of people aged 15 and over have a written asthma action plan. 41% of children (under 15) have an asthma action plan. Everyone with asthma should have a written asthma action plan.
Cost of asthma
$655 million was spent on asthma in 2008-9; which is 0.9% of all direct health spend on diseases.
- 50% prescription pharmaceuticals
- 30% out-of-hospital medical services
- 20% admitted patient costs
Impact of asthma
There were 39,500 hospitalisations in 2014-15 where asthma was the main diagnosis (171 per 100,000 population). Children under 15 are more likely to be hospitalised with asthma (451 per 100,000 population) than those aged 15 and over.
People with asthma are more likely to report a poor quality of life, especially those with severe or poorly controlled asthma.
34% of people report that asthma interferes with their daily living, and 21.8% of people aged 15-25 required time off work, school or study due to their asthma.
There were 419 deaths due to asthma in 2014. The rate of all deaths due to asthma has remained stable since 2003, and there is a long-term declining trend in deaths due to asthma in those aged 5-34.
Asthma mortality rates are higher for people living in remote or lower socioeconomic areas, and for Indigenous Australians. From 2010-2014, the mortality rate for asthma among Indigenous Australians was 1.6 times that of non-Indigenous Australians.
Download the Asthma in Australia Infographic here (PDF 1.1MB)
For more detailed information and asthma statistics click here.