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About asthma

Asthma is a long-term condition that affects a person's breathing. It is a significant cause of ill health and poor quality of life, in children and in adults.

Asthma is a type of chronic airways disease, as is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

This snapshot provides the latest high-level statistics on asthma in Australia. More detailed information can be found in Asthma in Australia 2011, and in other publications from the AIHW and the Australian Centre for Airways disease Monitoring (ACAM).

Information in the asthma snapshot was last updated in December 2016.

Asthma by numbers

1 in 9

Australians have asthma, based on self-reported data. That's around 2.5 million people.

1 in 5

people aged 15 and over with asthma have a written asthma action plan. Children aged 0–14 were more likely to have a written asthma action plan (41%).


deaths due to asthma in 2014 (0.3% of all deaths). That's a death rate of 1.5 per 100,000 population.

In the ten years to 2014 the asthma mortality rate (per 100,000) fluctuated between 1.6 and 2.1 for females and between 1.2 and 1.6 for males.

1.9 x

Indigenous Australians were nearly twice as likely to report having asthma compared with non-Indigenous Australians.