The prevalence of asthma was studied in 3065 male 18 year-olds, examined in a southern Italy (Basilicata) military recruitment office. The disease was evaluated by questionnaires, pulmonary function tests and specialist diagnosis. The point prevalence of asthma was 1.4%. The disturbance was more frequent in high versus a low level of maternal education (OR: 3.70; 95% CI: 2.00-6.88), in high versus a low level of paternal education (OR: 2.71; 95% CI: 1.48-4.98), in urban residence versus rural residence (OR: 3.04; 95% CI: 1.61-5.75), in first-borns versus nonfirst-borns (OR: 2.46; 95% CI: 1.33-4.53). Home environment (dampness, heating, crowding) was not significantly correlated to asthma. This reported prevalence of asthma is low, compared with overall European and Italian data. The higher risk in urban areas and high level of education has been confirmed. The association between asthma and first-borns is interesting and needs further investigation, focusing on maternal issues like the low maternal age and the mother-child interaction.