Asthma Statistics & Facts


Download the Asthma in Australia Infographic here (PDF 0.7MB)

Everyone with asthma should have a written Asthma Action Plan.

The cost of asthma

The cost of asthma is measured by the long-term impact it has on the ability of people with asthma to participate in everyday life.

The estimated cost of asthma in Australia in 2015 was $28 billion or $11,740 per person with asthma. The cost of asthma includes:

  • $24.7 billion attributed to disability and premature death
  • $1.2 billion on healthcare costs (including medication, hospital and out-of-hospital costs
  • $1.1 billion in loss of productivity
  • $72.9 million in loss of wages for carers
  • $289.4 million in income support for carers of people with asthma

Read more about the hidden cost of asthma here (4).

Impact of asthma

Asthma has a major impact on individuals, their carers and Australia’s health system.

In 2017-2018 there were 38,792 hospitalisations in where asthma was the main diagnosis (5). Almost half (44%) of these were for children aged younger than 14 years old. Children under 15 were more likely to be hospitalised with asthma (442 per 100,000 population) than those aged 15 and over (98 per 100,000) (2).

The previous year there were 70,034 Emergency Department presentations for asthma (6).

People with asthma are more likely to report a poor quality of life, especially those with severe or poorly controlled asthma (1). Asthma is the leading burdensome disease for children up to 15 years and in the top ten overall (AIHW Burden of Disease report).

There were 417 deaths due to asthma in 2020 (7). The rate of all deaths due to asthma has remained stable since 2011.

Although there has been a long-term declining trend in deaths due to asthma over this time, Asthma Australia is working to  reinvigorate new asthma management and controls so fewer people die.

Asthma mortality rates are higher for people living in remote or lower socioeconomic areas, and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (2). From 2010-2014, the mortality rate for asthma among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders was twice that of non-Aboriginal Australians (2).

For more detailed information and asthma statistics click here.


  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018; National Health Survey: First Results 2017-18. ABS Cat no. 4364.0.55.001. Canberra: ABS.
  2. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2018. Asthma Snapshot, Canberra: AIHW.
  3. Australian Government Productivity Commission (AGPC) 2018, Report on Government Services
  4. Asthma Australia and National Asthma Council Australia 2015. Hidden Cost of Asthma Report. Canberra: Deloitte Access Economics
  5. AIHW 2019, Separation statistics by principle diagnosis (ICD-10-AM 10th edition), Australia 2017-18. Canberra: AIHW
  6.  Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2017. Emergency department care 2016–17: Australian hospital statistics. Canberra: AIHW
  7. Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2021. Causes of Death, Australia, 2020. Canberra: ABS.