Asthma admissions for ages 1-44 for the year 1987 were studied to test the clinical impression that asthma admissions in ethnic Asians were more frequent than expected. Data on admissions was obtained from HAA statistics and from ward admission books. Population data was obtained from the 1981 Census with OPCS revisions and local epidemiological data of Asian births and new immigrant numbers. Admission rates per 1000 population were derived. Admissions were increased in Asian patients aged 1-4 years (odds ratio 1.18; 95% confidence interval 0.85-1.64) and 15-29 years (odds ratio 1.57; 95% confidence interval 0.83-2.98), but these increases were not significant. Admissions were significantly increased in Asian patients aged 5-14 (odds ratio 2.03; 95% confidence interval 1.32-3.12; 0.01 > P > 0.001) and 30-44 years (odds ratio 5.85; 95% confidence interval 3.66-9.35; 0.001 > P). The increased admission rate in Asians was not due to increased readmissions in the Asian ethnic group. The data supports the view that the difference in Asian admission rate may be due to a truly increased asthma prevalence in the Asian ethnic group.