The Asthma Capitals report ranking is based on three weighted outcomes: asthma prevalence, asthma-related emergency room visits, and asthma-related deaths.
The report also analyzes factors that can influence asthma outcomes: poverty, lack of health insurance, air pollution, pollen count, medicine use, smoking, and access to asthma specialists.
This year’s report has been release during Asthma Peak Week to raise awareness of the spike in asthma-related attacks and hospitalizations that happen each September. People with asthma are exposed to several triggers at once during September, such as:
- Higher ragweed pollen
- Higher mold counts
- The beginning of cold and flu season
- Poor indoor air quality in schools
- Wildfire-related air pollution
Out of the 100 Cities AAFA Ranked, These Are the Top 20 Most Challenging Places to Live With Asthma:
20. Rochester, New York
Rochester rounds out the top 20 Asthma Capitals due to its high asthma prevalence rate. Rochester has the highest rate of quick-relief medicine use and the second-highest rate of asthma controller medicine use. Both control and quick-relief medicines may be necessary for optimal asthma management. But frequent use of quick-relief medicine can indicate there is a high number of asthma episodes and lack of asthma control.
19. Toledo, Ohio
18. Greenville, South Carolina
Greenville is the #18 Asthma Capital due to its high asthma prevalence rate. The city also has high use of asthma controller medicine. Asthma controller medicines are prescribed for persistent cases of asthma and may be needed for proper asthma management. But a high number of these prescriptions may reveal that a city’s residents have more severe or uncontrolled cases of asthma.
17. Louisville, Kentucky
16. Albany, New York
15. Orlando, Florida
14. St. Louis, Missouri
13. Cape Coral, Florida
12. Richmond, Virginia
11. Columbus, Ohio
10. Baltimore, Maryland
9. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
8. Poughkeepsie, New York
7. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
6. Charleston, South Carolina
5. Fresno, California
4. Lakeland, Florida
3. Allentown, Pennsylvania
2. Cleveland, Ohio
1. Detroit, Michigan
Asthma Capitals: Full Report With Asthma Outcomes and Risk Factors
Focus on Health Equity
The results of the Asthma Capitals report continue to highlight the ongoing health disparities related to asthma prevalence, health care use, and mortality.
Earlier in 2022, AAFA launched its Health Equity Advancement and Leadership (HEAL) program. The purpose of HEAL is to address findings from our Asthma Disparities in America report. The HEAL program reinforces AAFA’s commitment to reducing health disparities in communities that bear the heaviest burden of asthma.
Each year, HEAL Innovation awards funding and resources to four local pilot programs tailored to at-risk populations most impacted by asthma. In the first year of the program, AAFA is funding programs in several Asthma Capitals including Chicago (#28), Detroit (#1), Los Angeles (#62), and St. Louis (#14). The focus of these four programs will be on adults and teens with asthma. The Asthma Capitals report profiles our work to improve asthma outcomes in these communities.
The report also highlights AAFA’s support of programs in New York dedicated to addressing asthma disparities. AAFA is funding a community health pilot program by AIRnyc to connect households managing asthma with health education, health care, and social programs. Read more about these programs and more in the report.
How Can We Improve Asthma Outcomes?
It is possible to reduce asthma rates and deaths. This report shows where we can focus our efforts for healthier environments and communities. Researchers, health care providers, federal and state policy makers, and local stakeholders all must work together to improve local communities and make asthma care more widely available. View our report to see specific actions that can be taken to help the more than 25 million Americans with asthma.