Richmond Tops List as 2014’s ‘Leading’ Asthma Capital

in Asthma
Published: May 6, 2014

Just in time for World Asthma Day – May 6, 2014 – the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America has released the latest iteration of its annual Asthma Capitals list. The list is a ranking of the largest 100 metropolitan areas in the country based on how difficult they are for people with asthma.

For the second year running, Richmond, Virginia sits atop the Asthma Capitals list, suggesting it is the most difficult city in the list for people with asthma to live in. While Richmond is better known for its historic monuments, museums and architecture, it has also held AAFA’s dubious No. 1 in asthma distinction in 2010 and 2011.

Residents of Richmond can thank Memphis for ‘winning’ in 2012, preventing Richmond from being selected as the worst city for asthma for five years running.

“Our Asthma Capitals report helps to shed light on the asthma burden in each city, but it also provides a roadmap for improvements,” said AAFA spokesperson Talisa White. “Some patients have a hard time avoiding their triggers, others just don’t take daily medications like they should or they don’t have access to proper asthma care and education.”

Memphis came in second place this year, which is worse than its position of third last year. This year, third place went to McAllen, Texas, which saw a significant worsening from its eighth-place position last year.

In both this year’s and last year’s lists, Tennessee was the only state to have three cities in the top 10, suggesting that this state is the most difficult overall for those with asthma.

To compile the list, AAFA looked at 13 factors for each city. These included asthma prevalence, number of deaths from asthma, smoking laws, air quality, pollen counts, number of asthma specialists, medication use and the number of emergency room visits for asthma.

Here are AAFA’s top 10 asthma capitals for 2014:


Richmond, VA


Memphis, TN


McAllen, TX


Oklahoma City, OK


Philadelphia, PA


Chattanooga, TN


Fresno, CA


Tulsa, OK


Chicago, IL


Detroit, MI

See AAFA’s full list at