This study examined the healthcare utilization patterns for asthma in Singapore, a tropical island city-state, between 1986 and 1993. Asthma was ranked fifth among principal conditions with the highest number of discharges in Singapore (2.4 discharges per 1,000 population per annum). Among the 0-14 year-olds, asthma was ranked second, only after accidents and injuries, as the condition with the highest number of discharges (5.2 per 1,000). It was estimated that there were approximately 20,000 accident and emergency (A & E) room visits for asthma per annum (7.0 visits per 1,000 population per annum). There were, however, no significant changes in the number of hospitalized or emergency room cases for asthma over the period of analysis. In the primary healthcare setting, asthma ranked 6th among the leading conditions seen by the general practitioners and government polyclinics (15 visits per 100 population per annum). Among under 15 year olds, asthma (37 visits per 100 age-adjusted population per annum) ranked as the second leading condition behind upper respiratory tract infections. This study has shown that asthma causes a significant amount of morbidity in the Singapore community.