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Contains key statistics and information about asthma and its prevalence in Australia

Reference period

Key statistics

  • Just under 2.8 million (10.8%) people had asthma in 2022
  • Almost one in three (32.1%) people with asthma had a written action plan
  • One in three (33.9%) people with asthma used asthma medication daily

These statistics form part of the National Health Survey 2022. More information on other topics of interest from the survey are available on the National Health Survey 2022 page.

Asthma is a long-term lung condition that is caused by narrowing of the airways when they become inflamed. People with asthma experience difficulty breathing, and the most common symptoms are wheezing, coughing, breathlessness and chest tightness[1]. Asthma may affect people of all ages and can usually be managed through treatment such as medication use (e.g. reliever inhalers and preventer/controller medications) and a healthy lifestyle[2].

Asthma prevalence

Just under 2.8 million (10.8%) people had asthma in 2022. Over the last decade the prevalence of asthma has remained steady, from 10.2% in 2011–12 to 10.8% in 2022. Overall, females were more likely than males to have asthma (12.2% compared to 9.4%). However, among children aged 0–14 years, boys were more likely to have asthma than girls (10.1% compared to 6.2%). This pattern has been consistent since 2001.

Characteristics of people with asthma

In 2022, people:

  • Born in Australia were more likely than those born overseas to have asthma (12.4% compared to 7.3%)
  • Living in areas of most disadvantage were more likely to have asthma than those living in areas of least disadvantage (13.2% compared to 10.2%).

People living with disability were more likely than those with no disability to have asthma (17.0% compared to 8.0%). Of all adults aged 18 years and over with asthma, one in seven (14.1%) were smoking daily, while around one in three (32.2%) were ex-smokers. Adults with asthma were less likely to have never smoked than those without any selected long-term health conditions (51.7% compared to 66.5%).


The National Asthma Council Australia recommends people with asthma should have their own individual written action plan that includes instructions on what to do when asthma symptoms worsen[2]. Almost one in three (32.1%) people with asthma had a written action plan.

Of those with asthma:

  • Two in three (67.2%) children had a written action plan
  • One in four (24.5%) adults had a written action plan.

Frequency of reported medication use also varies by age. Of those with asthma, in the two weeks prior to the survey:

  • Just under half (48.7%) of children used asthma medication
  • More than three in five (63.5%) adults used asthma medication
  • One in three (33.9%) people of all ages used medication daily and four in ten (39.1%) did not take medication.

Perceptions of health

People aged 15 years and over with asthma were more likely to rate their health as fair or poor when compared to those with any other selected long-term health condition (27.7% compared to 19.0%) or those with no condition (27.7% compared to 3.1%).

Data downloads

See the National Health Survey 2022 data downloads for the full suite of available data. Data relating to Asthma can be found in tables:

  • TABLE 1 Summary health characteristics, 2001 to 2022
  • TABLE 2 Summary health characteristics, by states and territories
  • TABLE 3 Long-term health conditions, by age and sex
  • TABLE 4 Selected long-term health conditions, by population characteristics
  • TABLE 5 Selected long-term health conditions, by health risk factors and health status
  • TABLE 15 Number of chronic conditions, by population characteristics, by age
  • TABLE 16 Comorbidity of selected chronic conditions, by age and sex.


Media release

See National Health Survey 2022 media release for more information.




  • all usual residents in Australia aged 0+ years living in private dwellings.
  • urban and rural areas in all states and territories, excluding very remote parts of Australia and discrete Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities.


The data available includes estimates for:

  • Australia
  • States and territories


The National Health Survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Medications data from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Collection method

Face-to-face interview with an Australian Bureau of Statistics Interviewer.

Linkage to the Person Level Integrated Data Asset.  

Concepts, sources and methods

Health conditions are presented using a classification which is based on the 10th revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10).

History of changes

Full history of changes.

View full methodology
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