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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Office of Minority Health

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Asthma and African Americans

  • In 2015, almost 2.6 million non-Hispanic blacks reported that they currently have asthma.
  • African American women were 20 percent more likely to have asthma than non-Hispanic whites, in 2015.
  • In 2014, African Americans were almost three times more likely to die from asthma related causes than the white population.
  • In 2015, African American children had a death rate ten times that of non-Hispanic white children.
  • Black children are 4 times more likely to be admitted to the hospital for asthma, as compared to non-Hispanic white children.
  • While all of the causes of asthma remain unclear, children exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke exposure are at increased risk for acute lower respiratory tract infections, such as bronchitis. Children living below or near the poverty level are more likely to have high levels of blood cotinine, a breakdown product of nicotine, than children living in higher income families.

 

At a Glance - Diagnosed

Current asthma prevalence percentage, adults ages 18 and over, 2015

 
Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black/Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Men
6.0
5.6
1.1
Women
11.7
10.1
1.2
Both Sexes
9.1
7.9
1.2

Source: CDC 2017. National Health Interview Survey Data 2015. Table 4-1.
http://www.cdc.gov/asthma/nhis/2015/table4-1.htm

 

Percentage of asthma among adults 18 years of age and over, ever being told they had asthma, 2015

 
Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Men
11.4
11.7
1.0
Women
15.7
15.2
1.0
Both Sexes
13.8
13.5
1.0

Source: CDC 2017. Summary Health Statistics: National Health Interview Survey: 2015. Table A-2.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis/shs/tables.htm

 

Percent of current asthma prevalence, adult ages 18 years and over, 2015

 
Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Men
6.0
5.6
1.1
Women
11.5
10.2
1.1
Both Sexes
9.0
7.9
1.1

Source: CDC 2017. Summary Health Statistics: National Health Interview Survey: 2015. Table A-2.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis/shs/tables.htm

 

Death Rate

Deaths per 100,000, with asthma as the underlying cause, National Vital Statistics System, 2014

Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black/ Non-Hispanic White Ratio
2.5
0.9
2.8

Source: CDC 2016. Deaths: Final Data for 2014. Table 17.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr63/nvsr65_04.pdf [PDF | 4.38MB]

 

Treatment

Estimated rate of emergency department visits with asthma as the first listed diagnosis per 100,000 population, National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, 2009

African American
White
African American/White Ratio
17.6
6.4
2.8

Source: CDC 2012. National Surveillance for Asthma - United States, 2001-2010. Table 14
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_03/sr03_035.pdf [PDF | 910.46KB]

 

Hospital admissions rate for asthma, adults age 18 to 39, United States, 2013

Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black/Non-Hispanic White Ratio
127.5
39.3
3.2

Source: National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Reports. Data Query: Table 5_5_1_7_1.2a [Accessed 03/01/2017] http://nhqrnet.ahrq.gov/inhqrdr/data/query

 

People with current asthma who are now taking preventive medicine daily or almost daily, United States, 2012

Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black/Non-Hispanic White Ratio
24.1
22.6
1.1

Source: National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Reports. Data Query: Table 2_9_3_1_1.1 [Accessed 04/28/2016] http://nhqrnet.ahrq.gov/inhqrdr/data/query

 

Children

Age-adjusted percentages for children under 18 years of age, ever being told they had asthma, 2015

Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black/Non-Hispanic White Ratio
18.6
11.7
1.6

Source: CDC 2017. Summary Health Statistics: National Health Interview Survey: 2015. Table C-1.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis/shs/tables.htm

 

Age-adjusted percentages for children under 18 years of age, who currently have asthma, 2015

Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black/Non-Hispanic White Ratio
13.4
7.3
1.8

Source: CDC 2017. Summary Health Statistics: National Health Interview Survey: 2015. Table C-1.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis/shs/tables.htm

 

Current asthma prevalence percentage, children ages 18 and under, 2015

 
Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black/Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Boys
16.0
8.7
1.8
Girls
10.8
6.0
1.8
Both Sexes
13.4
7.4
1.8

Source: CDC 2017. National Health Interview Survey Data 2015. Table 4-1.
http://www.cdc.gov/asthma/nhis/2015/table4-1.htm

 

Hospital admissions rate for asthma, children ages 2-17, United States, 2013

Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black/Non-Hispanic White Ratio
275.7
60.9
4.5

Source: National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Reports. Data Query: Table 5_4_1_7_2.2a [Accessed 03/01/2017]
http://nhqrnet.ahrq.gov/inhqrdr/data/query

 

Death rates for children 0-17 years of age, 2003-2005 (deaths per 1,000,000)

Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black/Non-Hispanic White Ratio
9.2
1.3
7.1

Source: CDC 2006. The State of Childhood Asthma, United States, 1980-2005. Table B. [Accessed 04/28/2016]
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/ad/ad381.pdf [PDF | 365KB]

 

Death rates for children 0-14 years of age, 2015 (deaths per 1,000,000)

Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black/Non-Hispanic White Ratio
1.0
0.1
10.0

Source: CDC 2017. CDC Wonder.
http://wonder.cdc.gov [Accessed 03/01/2017]

 

The proportional impact of asthma prevalence, health care use and mortality among children 0–17 years of age, by race and ethnicity, United States, 2003-2004

 
Non-Hispanic Black
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black/Non-Hispanic White Ratio
Current prevalence (2004-2005)
146%
92%
1.6
Emergency department visit rate
254%
66%
3.8
Death rate
354%
50%
7.1

Source: CDC 2006. The State of Childhood Asthma, United States, 1980-2005. Table VIII.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/ad/ad381.pdf [PDF | 365KB]

Last Modified: 1/9/2018 11:34:00 AM