Acute asthma admissions to a District General Hospital in the East District of Birmingham from 1972 to 1982 show that 20% of admissions are in Asian patients who comprise only 9.7% of the population. Annual admissions for acute asthma have risen from 240 to 377 (+57%) for non-Asians and from 60 to 100 (+67%) for Asians in that time although the proportion of readmissions has remained unchanged. For 1981, admission rates for acute asthma per 100,000 population, assuming equal asthma prevalence rates, was 198 for Asians compared to 79 for non-Asians, a relative risk of 2.5. Mean duration of hospital stay has fallen from 13.6 days to 6.7 days but there is no difference when comparing Asian to non-Asian populations at each age level, duration of stay rising with increasing age. The reasons for the higher admission rates for Asians are probably multifactorial but poor asthma education due to language problems and poor compliance may be significant causes, although this remains to be confirmed.