There are pronounced disparities among black compared to white Americans for risk of end-stage renal disease. This study examines whether similar relationships exist between poverty and racial disparities in chronic kidney disease (CKD) prevalence. Methods: We studied 22,538 participants in the REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) cohort study. We defined individual poverty as family income below USD 15,000 and a neighborhood as poor if 25% or more of the households were below the federal poverty level. Results: As the estimated glomerular filtration rate (GFR) declined from 50-59 to 10-19 ml/min/ 1.73 m2, the black:white odds ratio (OR) for impaired kidney function increased from 0.74 (95% CI 0.66, 0.84) to 2.96 (95% CI 1.96, 5.57). Controlling for individual income below poverty, community poverty, demographic and comorbid characteristics attenuated the black:white prevalence to an OR of 0.65 (95% CI 0.57, 0.74) among individuals with a GFR of 59-50 ml/min/1.73 m2 and an OR of 2.21 (95% CI 1.25, 3.93) among individuals with a GFR between 10 and 19 ml/min/ 1.73 m2. Conclusion: Household, but not community poverty, was independently associated with CKD and attenuated but did not fully account for differences in CKD prevalence between whites and blacks. Copyright © 2010 S. Karger AG, Basel.