Children and Asthma: 32 Facts You Should Know

The problem of children and asthma is growing rapidly around the nation, especially in Los Angeles County. Eisner Pediatric & Family Clinic started the Pediatric Asthma Clinic to identify children with asthma and help them and their families be proactive in managing the disease.

Here are 32 facts about pediatric asthma that can help us understand the importance of supporting asthma management programs for children.

General Asthma Facts

  1. Asthma and allergies affect 1 in 5 Americans; 1 in 12 has asthma.
  2. Asthma strikes about 15 million Americans; that’s more than heart disease, cancer, strokes, and other chronic diseases except diabetes.
  3. Asthma is correlated with poor air quality, poverty, indoor allergens, and lack of access to primary medical care.
  4. Sixty percent of asthma cases are triggered by allergies.

Children and Asthma

  1. In 2011, about 7.1 million children under 18 had asthma. That’s 9.5% of children; 1 in every 11 has asthma.
  2. At least half of the children who have asthma show some sign of it before age 5.
  3. The percentage of children diagnosed with asthma increases with age.
  4. Every day, 36,000 kids miss school because of asthma.
  5. Asthma is the leading cause of school absenteeism because of a chronic disease each year.
  6. About 50% of children miss at least 1 day of school each year because of their asthma. More than half (59%) who had an asthma attack missed school.
  7. Asthma results in more than 10.5 million total missed days of school in the US each year.
  8. On average, children missed 4 days of school because of asthma.
  9. Asthma is the most frequent chronic disease found in children.
  10. Children with asthma spend nearly 8 million days per year restricted to bed.
  11. Asthma is found more commonly in children (9.5%) than in adults (8%).
  12. Boys are more likely than girls to have asthma. Fifteen percent of boys versus 13% of girls have been told by a doctor that they have asthma. Ten percent of boys and nearly 9% of girls say they still have asthma.

Children, Asthma, and the ER

  1. Asthma accounts for about 1.9 million, or one-fourth, of all emergency room visits in the US each year.
  2. Children account for about 44% of all asthma hospitalizations.
  3. Asthma is the third-ranking cause of the hospitalization of children.
  4. One in 5 children with asthma went to the emergency room for care in 2009.
  5. African American and Hispanic children visit emergency departments for asthma care more often than white children.

Children, Asthma, and Race or Ethnicity

  1. About 1 in 6 (17%) non-Hispanic black children had asthma in 2009, the highest rate among racial or ethnic groups. Black children are twice as likely as white children to suffer from asthma.
  2. From 2001 through 2009, asthma rates rose the most among African American children, almost a 50% increase.
  3. African Americans are three times more likely to die from asthma.
  4. The death rate from asthma for children under 19 years old has increased by nearly 80 percent since 1980. Most of these deaths could have been prevented with proper treatment and care.

Asthma, Care, and Cost

  1. Less than 1 in 2 children with asthma has an asthma action plan.
  2. More than 8 in 10 children with asthma have been taught how to recognize asthma symptoms.
  3. Less than half the people with asthma reported being taught how to avoid triggers. Almost half (48%) the adults who were taught how to avoid triggers did not follow most of this advice.
  4. More than 1 in 4 African American adults and 1 in 5 Hispanic adults can’t afford their asthma medicines.
  5. More than 1 in 4 African American adults and 1 in 7 Hispanic adults can’t afford routine doctor visits (where their asthma could be diagnosed and treated).
  6. Asthma costs the United States $56 billion each year.
  7. The average yearly cost of care for a child with asthma was $1,039 (2009 statistics).

The Pediatric Asthma Clinic at Eisner Pediatric & Family Medical Center was created to focus on the special needs of children with asthma.



Asthma in the US growing every year. CDC Vital Signs. National Center for Environmental Health. May 2011.

Asthma’s impact on the nation. Data from the CDC National Asthma Control Program. 

National Center for Environmental Health. 2011.

Bloom B., Cohen R.A., Freeman G. Summary health statistics for U.S. children: National Health Interview Survey, 2011. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Statistics 10(254). December 2012.

Moorman J.E., Akinbami L.J., Bailey C.M., et al. National surveillance of asthma: United States, 2001–2010. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Statistics 3(35). November 2012.