Asthma hospitalization rates for children and youth in Canada have declined by 50% over the past 10 years. Despite this improvement, asthma continues to be one of the leading causes of hospital stays for this population, with more than 6,000 hospitalizations in 2015–2016. Moreover, children and youth living in lower-income neighbourhoods continue to experience significantly higher rates of hospitalization than those in higher-income neighbourhoods.

Key highlights

  • Asthma hospitalization rates declined steadily between 2006 and 2015 for both boys and girls, with the largest decrease seen among children younger than 5.
  • Throughout the past decade, hospitalization rates remained about 1.5 times higher in the lowest-income neighbourhoods compared with the highest-income neighbourhoods.
  • Urban areas experienced slightly higher hospitalization rates than rural/remote areas, on average.
  • There are also large education-related inequalities, especially among boys.

This analysis was carried out in collaboration with Statistics Canada using the Hospital Morbidity Database (HMDB) at CIHI and Statistics Canada’s Census–Discharge Abstract Database (DAD) linked data. Explore the findings in this analysis that examines inequalities in asthma hospital stays by age, sex, income, geographic location and education among children and youth (age 0 to 19) at the provincial/territorial and national levels, as well as patterns over time.