Logo of amjphAmerican Journal of Public Health Web SiteAmerican Public Health Association Web SiteSubmissionsSubscriptionsAbout Us
Am J Public Health. 1992 January; 82(1): 59–65.
PMCID: PMC1694413

Variations in asthma hospitalizations and deaths in New York City.


BACKGROUND. Recent reports have identified New York City as having asthma mortality rates that are substantially higher than expected based on US rates. This study investigates the problems of asthma morbidity and mortality in New York City. METHODS. Data on asthma hospitalizations (1982 to 1986) and deaths (1982 to 1987) among persons aged 0 to 34 years were studied. Descriptive and multivariate techniques were used to examine differences in rates among subgroups and across geographic areas. RESULTS. The average annual hospitalization rate was 39.2 per 10,000; the mortality rate was 1.2 per 100,000. Hospitalization and death rates among Blacks and Hispanics were 3 to 5.5 times those of Whites. Large geographic variations in hospitalizations and mortality occurred. Asthma hospitalization and mortality rates were highly correlated (r = .67), with the highest rates concentrated in the city's poorest neighborhoods. Household income, percentage of population Black, and percentage of population Hispanic were significant predictors of area hospitalization rates (adjusted R2 = .75). CONCLUSION. These findings provide a basis for focusing investigations of the causes of variations in asthma outcomes and targeting interventions to reduce the disproportionate morbidity and mortality borne by poor and minority populations.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (3.5M), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Images in this article

Click on the image to see a larger version.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Gergen PJ, Weiss KB. Changing patterns of asthma hospitalization among children: 1979 to 1987. JAMA. 1990 Oct 3;264(13):1688–1692. [PubMed]
  • Weiss KB, Wagener DK. Geographic variations in US asthma mortality: small-area analyses of excess mortality, 1981-1985. Am J Epidemiol. 1990 Jul;132(1 Suppl):S107–S115. [PubMed]
  • Weiss KB, Wagener DK. Changing patterns of asthma mortality. Identifying target populations at high risk. JAMA. 1990 Oct 3;264(13):1683–1687. [PubMed]
  • Wissow LS, Gittelsohn AM, Szklo M, Starfield B, Mussman M. Poverty, race, and hospitalization for childhood asthma. Am J Public Health. 1988 Jul;78(7):777–782. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Perrin JM, Homer CJ, Berwick DM, Woolf AD, Freeman JL, Wennberg JE. Variations in rates of hospitalization of children in three urban communities. N Engl J Med. 1989 May 4;320(18):1183–1187. [PubMed]
  • Wennberg JE, McPherson K, Caper P. Will payment based on diagnosis-related groups control hospital costs? N Engl J Med. 1984 Aug 2;311(5):295–300. [PubMed]
  • Shepherd RW, Holt TL, Cleghorn G, Ward LC, Isles A, Francis P. Short-term nutritional supplementation during management of pulmonary exacerbations in cystic fibrosis: a controlled study, including effects of protein turnover. Am J Clin Nutr. 1988 Aug;48(2):235–239. [PubMed]
  • Sporik R, Holgate ST, Platts-Mills TA, Cogswell JJ. Exposure to house-dust mite allergen (Der p I) and the development of asthma in childhood. A prospective study. N Engl J Med. 1990 Aug 23;323(8):502–507. [PubMed]
  • Dockery DW, Speizer FE, Stram DO, Ware JH, Spengler JD, Ferris BG., Jr Effects of inhalable particles on respiratory health of children. Am Rev Respir Dis. 1989 Mar;139(3):587–594. [PubMed]
  • Goldstein IF, Reed CE, Swanson MC, Jacobson JS. Aeroallergens in New York inner-city apartments of asthmatics. Experientia Suppl. 1987;51:133–138. [PubMed]
  • Sly RM. Effects of treatment on mortality from asthma. Ann Allergy. 1986 Mar;56(3):207–212. [PubMed]
  • Rutstein DD, Berenberg W, Chalmers TC, Child CG, 3rd, Fishman AP, Perrin EB. Measuring the quality of medical care. A clinical method. N Engl J Med. 1976 Mar 11;294(11):582–588. [PubMed]
  • German PS, Skinner EA, Shapiro S, Salkever DS. Preventive and episodic health care of inner-city children. J Community Health. 1976 Winter;2(2):92–106. [PubMed]
  • Sears MR, Rea HH, de Boer G, Beaglehole R, Gillies AJ, Holst PE, O'Donnell TV, Rothwell RP. Accuracy of certification of deaths due to asthma. A national study. Am J Epidemiol. 1986 Dec;124(6):1004–1011. [PubMed]
  • Barger LW, Vollmer WM, Felt RW, Buist AS. Further investigation into the recent increase in asthma death rates: a review of 41 asthma deaths in Oregon in 1982. Ann Allergy. 1988 Jan;60(1):31–39. [PubMed]
  • Kerner JF, Andrews H, Zauber A, Struening E. Geographically-based cancer control: methods for targeting and evaluating the impact of screening interventions on defined populations. J Clin Epidemiol. 1988;41(6):543–553. [PubMed]

Articles from American Journal of Public Health are provided here courtesy of American Public Health Association


Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


  • Cited in Books
    Cited in Books
    PubMed Central articles cited in books
  • MedGen
    Related information in MedGen
  • PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...