Children in inner-city areas of the United States have varying burdens of asthma, particularly in terms of severity, impairment, exacerbations, and morbidity. Investigations aimed at better understanding the causes and mechanisms driving asthma prevalence, severity, and exacerbation in these communities’ children might lead to strategies that can decrease asthma inequalities and possibly help all children with asthma. This update will concentrate on recent (late 2016–2017) breakthroughs in the knowledge of asthma among inner-city children in the United States. Studies published during the previous years add to our understanding of asthma prevalence, severity, exacerbation, and the outcomes of guidelines-based management of these at-risk children, including: asthma phenotypes in US inner-city children that are severe and difficult-to-control; key environmental determinants and mechanisms underlying asthma severity and exacerbations (e.g. allergy-mediated exacerbation); and the outcomes of guidelines-based management of these at-risk children.

These new research provide a wealth of practical information that can improve asthma care and outcomes for these vulnerable youngsters.