Asthma Mortality Varies in Asian and Hispanic Race/Ethnic Groups

California Asthma Quick Facts, July 2009

Asthma disparities among the major racial/ethnic groups are well documented, but information on asthma outcomes for subgroups are seldom reported. For this analysis, asthma death rates in Hispanic and Asian/Pacific Islander (API) subgroups in California were examined for the years 2000-2004. There were significant variations among the subgroups when age-adjusted asthma death rates were compared. Within Hispanic and API groups, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, Filipino, and Puerto Rican/Cuban subgroups had high asthma death rates that were obscured when combined into the broader categories (see Figure 1 below). The considerable variation in asthma mortality rates among Hispanic and API subgroups is consistent with other asthma outcomes. These findings should be used to target and enhance comprehensive asthma management and community-level interventions for particularly vulnerable populations.

Methods: Counts of asthma deaths for 2000-2004 were obtained from the California Department of Public Health, Center for Health Statistics. Population denominators were obtained from the U.S. Census and California Department of Finance. 2000 Census proportions of racial/ethnic subgroups were used to estimate subgroup denominators for the years 2001-2004, since the information was not available for these years. Due to the rare nature of asthma deaths, many of the reported rates are based on small numbers of events. As a result, death rate estimations from 2000-2004 may not be representative of other years. All rates were age-adjusted to the 2000 U.S. standard population. Race/ethnicity groups that were unspecified or did not fit into the listed categories were not included in this analysis. For more information, please contact .