How many people die from asthma?

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

In 2015 there were 421 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 at 1.5 deaths per 100,000 population during the past 5 years, from 2011 to 2015.

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 0.2–0.4 per 100,000 population.

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, 2005–2015

The horizontal line chart shows that the asthma death rate for all ages between 2005 and 2015 was higher in females than in males. 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.

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 [1]. 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 2011 to 2015, the mortality rate for asthma among Indigenous Australians was 2.8 per 100,000 population, which was twice that of non-Indigenous Australians (1.4 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 [2].


  1. 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.
  2. AIHW 2016. Australia's health 2016. Australia's health series no. 15. Cat. no. AUS 199. Canberra: AIHW.