U.S. COPD and Asthma Death Statistics

Copd Asthma Deaths Mortality
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Chronic lower respiratory disease, which includes asthma and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), is a leading cause of death in the United States. These diseases obstruct air flow to the lungs and affect millions of Americans. There is no cure, though they can be treated.


The term COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is sometimes used interchangeably with CLRD (chronic lower respiratory disease). In fact, CLRD is a slightly broader category. It includes asthma as well as COPD.

COPD itself comprises two main diseases: chronic bronchitis and emphysema. While these diseases are separate and distinguished, patients with COPD often suffer from more than one of them at once. For instance, the majority of patients have both chronic bronchitis and emphysema to differing degrees. This is because chronic bronchitis usually progresses into emphysema. According to the CDC, in 2017, 8.6 million Americans were diagnosed with chronic bronchitis and 3.4 million with emphysema.

How do COPD and asthma deaths vary by state?

Arkansas had the highest age-adjusted death rate in 2017, with 66.7 deaths per 100,000 people. Hawaii had the lowest: 19 deaths per 100,000 people. 

Note: To see data for different years, drag the time-slider beneath the map.

How does COPD and asthma mortality vary by demographics?

By Sex

In 2017, men died from COPD at a higher rate than women — 45 per 100,000 died versus 38.1 per 100,000. 

By Race

In 2017, white people had the highest age-adjusted death rate—43.8 per 100,000 died from CLRD. Asian and Pacific Islanders had the lowest death rate at 11.9 per 100,000.

By Age

Deaths from chronic lower respiratory disease disproportionately affect the elderly. On a national level, the age group most affected are people greater than 85 years. 

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About the Data

Mortality data in this story was queried from the CDC Wonder API, based on the following parameters:

• Data reported as Underlying Cause of Death, ICD-10 codes: J40-J47.