Asthma Overview

  • Asthma is a serious public health problem in New York and the nation.
  • Asthma currently affects about 8.4% (370,000) children 1 and 9.3% (more than 1.1 million) of adults in New York 2.
  • Asthma caused an average of 301 deaths per year in New York during 2003-2005, including 45 deaths in children 0-14 years of age (2003-2005)3.
  • New York residents had an average of 41,797 asthma hospitalizations per year during 2003-2005. This is equivalent to a rate of 21.7 asthma hospitalizations per 10,000 population. Asthma hospitalizations for children between the ages of 0-17 averaged 14,411 per year for a rate of 33.8 per 10,000. In children 0-4 years of age, hospitalization rates dropped from 79.0/10,000 (1997-1999) to 66.6/10,000 (2003-2005). In children 5-14 years of age, hospitalization rates dropped from 29.6/10,000 (1997-1999) to 24.8/10,000 (2003-2005).4
  • Total Medicaid health care expenditures for recipients with asthma in New York State exceeded $1 billion in fiscal year 2000 5, inclusive of asthma related and unrelated medical services.
  • Asthma takes its toll in many ways. Asthma is the leading cause of school absenteeism. Asthma results in many lost nights of sleep and disruption of activities for the individual, as well as his or her family. Parents frequently miss days from work as a result of their child's asthma.


  1. National Asthma Survey NYS data for children under 18 - 2003
  2. New York State Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), 2005
  3. New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Biometrics, Vital Statistics
  4. New York State Department of Health, Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System (SPARCS)
  5. Claim Detail/Special Reporting System, New York State Department of Health, Office of Medicaid Management.