Asthma in the inner city impacts people of all ages and is most pronounced in African Americans and other minorities. During the past decade, the prevalence of asthma has increased by 42%, a rate consistently higher in African Americans. Along with the increase in asthma prevalence, the costs associated with this disease have also risen dramatically. In addition, asthma is the leading cause of school absenteeism and also contributes to lost productivity. This article focuses on the epidemiology of asthma in urban areas and identifies various risk factors that are important in achieving control of this disease. Suggestions for future interventions are discussed.