How many people die from asthma?

Death from asthma is uncommon. Effective management can reduce the risk.

In 2014 there were 419 deaths due to asthma in Australia, which corresponds to a mortality rate of 1.5 per 100,000 population. The statistics presented in this section relate to deaths where asthma was listed as the underlying cause of death.

The rate of mortality due to asthma has remained steady at around 1.6 deaths per 100,000 population over the 10 years from 2005 to 2014.

Attribution of death due to asthma is more certain among those aged 5–34, thus this age group is commonly used for examining time trends. There has been little change in the rate of mortality due to asthma in this age group over the last 10 years, with the rate 0.4 per 100,000 population or lower.

For information on long-term trends, see General Record of Incidence of Mortality (GRIM) books.

Figure 1: Death rate due to asthma, by broad age group and sex, 2005–2014

The horizontal line chart shows that the asthma death rate for all ages between 2005 and 2014 was higher in females than in males (1.9 compared to 1.3 per 100,000 population, respectively). The asthma mortality rate among people aged 5–34 remained steady for both males and females over the same period.


  1. Age-standardised to the 2001 Australian Standard Population.
  2. Asthma classified according to the International Statistical Classification of Disease, 10th revision (ICD-10) codes J45 and J46.
  3. Because attribution of death due to asthma is more certain among those aged 5–34, this age group is commonly used for examining time trends. In older people, other causes of death, in particular chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cause difficulties in the attribution of causes of death.

Source: AIHW analysis of AIHW National Mortality Database (Data table).

More people die from asthma in certain population groups

Certain population groups have a higher mortality rate for asthma. Asthma mortality rates are higher for people living in more remote areas and for people living in areas of lower socioeconomic status [3]. Asthma mortality rates are also higher among Indigenous Australians compared with non-Indigenous Australians after adjusting for differences in age structure. During the period from 2010 to 2014, the mortality rate for asthma among Indigenous Australians was 2.4 per 100,000 population, which was 1.6 times that of non-Indigenous Australians (1.5 per 100,000), based on the five jurisdictions with adequate Indigenous identification (NSW, Qld, NT, WA and SA).

The differences between these population subgroups may be due to differences in smoking rates, access to preventative health services, or other social and environmental factors. Smoking rates are higher among people living in more remote areas, among people living in areas of lower socioeconomic status, and among Indigenous Australians [3].

For more information about asthma mortality, refer to Mortality from asthma and COPD in Australia [2].


  1. Australian Centre for Asthma Monitoring (ACAM) 2011. Asthma in Australia 2011: with a focus chapter on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Asthma series no. 4. Cat. no. ACM 22. Canberra: AIHW.
  2. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW): Poulos LM, Cooper SJ, Ampon R, Reddel HK and Marks GB 2014. Mortality from asthma and COPD in Australia. Cat. no. ACM 30. Canberra: AIHW.
  3. AIHW 2014. Australia's health 2014. Australia's health series no. 14. Cat. no. AUS 178. Canberra: AIHW.