The burden of asthma among children is high in Australia compared with many other countries. Recent data show that 14-16% of children report a diagnosis of asthma that remains a problem. Boys, children under the age of 5 years and urban indigenous children experience a greater burden of asthma than other children. More than one-third of children with asthma have sleep disturbance due to the illness and 60% have missed school and/or experienced other restrictions in their activities due to the disease. Despite this, there is continuing evidence of under-utilisation of effective treatment for the disease. Asthma is a major cause of healthcare utilisation among children. Since the early 1990s, there has been a decline in both hospitalisation rates and general practitioner consultation rates for asthma among children. It remains to be seen whether this favourable trend will continue and extend into the adult age range.