This report shows how asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) hospitalisations vary across Australia. It also examines the association between these hospitalisation rates and socioeconomic status (SES), remoteness and the proportion of Indigenous Australians in different locations across Australia.

Maps presented in this report show higher hospitalisation rates for both asthma and COPD in inland Australia and rural areas. Asthma hospitalisation rates are also higher in certain coastal areas in Queensland, in south-east South Australia and in south Western Australia. In comparison, COPD hospitalisation rates are higher in much of the Northern Territory and north-west Western Australia.

Further investigation found that SES, remoteness and the proportion of the population that identifies as Indigenous all had a significant association with the hospitalisation rates for asthma and COPD by area.

There may be further reasons for the variation in hospitalisation rates for asthma and COPD, such as:

  • location specific factors, such as air pollution and allergic triggers
  • access to hospital and primary care services
  • variation in smoking rates.

These issues could be explored in further studies.