Asthma facts and statistics

Asthma UK's press office can provide facts and statistics about asthma including prevalence, deaths and hospital admissions.

Is asthma serious?

Imagine being paralysed by fear as you struggle to breathe, unable to speak, unable to ask for help. That's what an asthma attack feels like.

There are 5.4 million people with asthma in the UK, which means asthma affects one in every 11 people and one in five households. Asthma is not just an excuse to skip P.E. For a quarter of a million people with severe asthma, even climbing the stairs can feel like a marathon, never mind going outside their home.

Every 10 seconds someone is having a potentially life-threatening asthma attack in the UK. Every day, the lives of three families are devastated by the death of a loved one to an asthma attack, and tragically two thirds of these deaths are preventable.

Key facts for journalists

  • 5.4 million people in the UK are currently receiving treatment for asthma: 1.1 million children (1 in 11) and 4.3 million adults (1 in 12).
  • Asthma prevalence is thought to have plateaued since the late 1990s, although the UK still has some of the highest rates in Europe and on average 3 people a day die from asthma.
  • In 2015 (the most recent data available) 1,468 people died from asthma.
  • The NHS spends around 1 billion a year treating and caring for people with asthma.

Asthma across the UK

  • In Northern Ireland 182,000 people (1 in 10) are currently receiving treatment for asthma. This includes 36,000 children and 146,000 adults.
  • In Scotland, 368,000 people (1 in 14) are currently receiving treatment for asthma. This includes 72,000 children and 296,000 adults.
  • In Wales 314,000 people (1 in 10) are currently receiving treatment for asthma. This consists of 59,000 children and 256,000 adults.
  • In England, 4,500,000 people (1 in 11) are currently receiving treatment for asthma. This consists of 932,000 children and 3,600,000 adults.

Children, parents and asthma

  • One in 11 children in the UK has asthma.
  • On average there are three children with asthma in every classroom in the UK.
  • The UK has among the highest prevalence rates of asthma symptoms in children worldwide.
  • Asthma attacks hospitalise someone every 8 minutes; 185 people are admitted to hospital because of asthma attacks every day in the UK (a child is admitted to hospital every 20 minutes because of an asthma attack).

Asthma deaths in England and Wales since 2003

Year Deaths
2003 1268
2004 1264
2005 1284
2006 1082
2007 1033
2008 1071
2009 1018
2010 1022
2011 1041
2012 1126
2013 1113
2014 1114
2015 1302
2016 1237

Link to Office for National Statistics (ONS) report: https://www.ons.gov.uk/releases/deathregistrationsinenglandandwalessummarytables2016

If you are interested in more asthma facts and stats, you can visit the Asthma UK Data Portal here. This site is optimised for desktop users.