Low vitamin D levels have been shown to be associated with primary hyperparathyroidism, but it is unclear whether vitamin D deficiency may be an etiologic factor in the development of primary hyperparathyroidism. To investigate this, we compared preoperative vitamin D levels of patients undergoing surgery for primary hyperparathyroidism with those of patients undergoing surgery for benign thyroid disease. With Institutional Review Board approval, data were collected prospectively on patients undergoing parathyroidectomy or thyroidectomy by one surgeon between March 2006 and July 2011. Patients were excluded if they underwent simultaneous thyroid and parathyroid surgery, had secondary or tertiary hyperparathyroidism, if no preoperative vitamin D level was measured, or if they took vitamin D supplements. Inclusion criteria were met by 219 patients who underwent parathyroidectomy and 186 patients who underwent thyroid surgery. Patient age, sex, race, and preoperative vitamin D levels (vitamin D 25-OH; normal, 32 to 100 pg/mL) were collected. Statistical analysis was performed using linear regression. Vitamin D levels were significantly lower in the parathyroid group compared with the thyroid group (23.8 vs 28.5 pg/mL; P < 0.001). This difference was also observed after adjustment for age, sex, and race with a mean difference of 4.87 pg/mL (P < 0.001). Statistically significant associations between lower vitamin D levels and patients younger than 50 years (P = 0.048), male sex (P = 0.03), and nonwhite race were identified (P < 0.001). Patients with primary hyperparathyroidism are more likely to have lower vitamin D levels than a control surgical population. Further study is needed to determine whether low vitamin D levels may be an etiologic factor associated with the development of hyperparathyroidism.