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. 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 2001

Year Age 0-14 Age 15+ Total
2001 27 1241 1268
2002 23 1241 1264
2003 22 1262 1284
2004 38 1205 1243
2005 24 1162 1186
2006 33 1049 1082
2007 19 1014 1033
2008 23 1048 1071
2009 12 1006 1018
2010 15 1007 1022
2011 15 1026 1041
2012 17 1109 1126
2013 27 1086 1113
2014 24 1090 1114
2015 18 1284 1302
2016 13 1224 1237

 

Link to Office for National Statistics (ONS) report (England and Wales)

Asthma deaths in Scotland since 2001        

Year Age 0-14 Age 15+ Total
2001 1 100 101
2002 4 127 131
2003 3 95 98
2004 1 93 94
2005 2 98 100
2006 2 80 82
2007 2 110 112
2008 4 99 103
2009 1 92 93
2010 1 90 91
2011 3 91 94
2012 3 86 89
2013 3 102 105
2014 2 70 72
2015 3 119 122
2016 1 132 133 

 

Link to National Records of Scotland report 

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.