OBJECTIVES: This study described relations between socioeconomic factors and race/ethnicity as risk factors for asthma mortality. METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted of US mortality records from 1991 through 1996. RESULTS: Higher standardized mortality ratios were seen for Blacks vs Whites (3.34 vs 0.65), low vs high educational level (1.51 vs 0.69), and low vs high income (1.46 vs 0.71). Excess mortality for Blacks vs Whites was present in the highest and lowest quintiles of median county income and educational level. The disparity in asthma mortality rates according to median county income and education remained after control for race/ethnicity. CONCLUSIONS: Black race/ethnicity appears to be associated, independently from low income and low education, with an elevated risk for asthma mortality.