Asthma is a leading cause of morbidity in the United States and is a leading cause of disability in children. Prevalence has been shown to be highest in male children, blacks, and urban residents. Racial and residential differences have been attributed to economics. Medicaid claims data allow for the comparison of asthma morbidity and treatment of patients with different demography but of low socioeconomic status. Michigan Medicaid claims data for recipient children between 5 and 14 years of age were used to ascertain demographic factors associated with asthma treatment from 1980 through 1986. A cross-sectional analysis was used. Black asthmatics were found to receive medical care more frequently, but to obtain asthma drugs less frequently than other groups. The prevalence of different prescription asthma preparations also varied by race and residence. Black, urban residents obtained fixed-combination drugs more frequently and steroids less frequently than other groups. Rural patients, in general, had fewer medical contacts but obtained more prescription products per provider contact, whether black or white. Possible reasons for this variation are discussed.