These are some facts about asthma and COPD in Australia.

Our Asthma and COPD in Australia Fact Sheet is available for download in PDF format – click here to download.

One in nine have asthma

One in nine Australians (2.7 million) live with asthma, including over 237,000 in Western Australia. Over 46,000 people have COPD (1).

In our vulnerable Indigenous community this figure is almost twice as high.

One in seven have COPD

COPD is a chronic lung disease that effect 14% (one in seven) people aged 40 or over (3). This figure increases to 29% of Australians aged 75 or over.

7,927 Australians died

436 Australians died from asthma and 7,491 Australians died from COPD in 2019 (5)

Asthma mortality rates are higher for:
• people living in remote areas
• people living in areas of low socio-economic status
• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (5)

116,600 Australians hospitalised

Every year approximately 40,000 Australians are hospitalised due to their asthma (2) and 76,600 people aged 45 years and over are hospitalised due their COPD (4)

Avoidable hospitalisations

80% of hospital admissions due to asthma are potentially avoidable (2)

No action plan

71.6% of people with asthma do not have an Asthma Action Plan (6)

Quality of life

While not everyone with asthma is hospitalised, poor management contributes to a decreased quality of life, poor sleep quality, fatigue and depression (1)

Increased body pain.

People with COPD are more likely to experience greater bodily pain than those without the condition (4)

Childhood mental health

52% of young people with asthma are at risk of mental illness

Leading reason for absenteeism

The average person with asthma has two more days off work than someone without the condition. In children, it is the leading reason for school absenteeism.

1. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2020-21), “” Asthma, ABS Website, accessed 28 October 2022.
2. AIHW 2019, Separation statistics by principal diagnosis (ICD-10-AM 10th edition), Australia 2017-18. Canberra: AIHW.
3. Toelle B, Xuan W, Bird T, Abramson M, Atkinson D, Burton D, James A, Jenkins C, Johns D, Maguire G, Musk A, Walters E, Wood-Baker R, Hunter M, Graham B, Southwell P, Vollmer W, Buist A, Marks G, 2013; Respiratory symptoms and illness in older Australians: The Burden of Obstructive Lung Disease (BOLD) study. Med J Aust: 198:144-148.
4. AIHW 2020, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Web Report. AIHW Car no. ACM 35. Canberra: AIHW.
5. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2020; Causes of Death, Australia 2019. Canberra: ABS.
6. Australian Government Productivity Commission 2018. Report on Government Services.