© 2019 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd Objective: Root resorption due to orthodontic tooth movement may adversely affect the root-crown (R/C) ratios of permanent teeth, especially in patients with Short Root Anomaly (SRA), a poorly understood disorder affecting root development. Evaluation of SRA R/C ratios to normal dentition would facilitate diagnosis and orthodontic treatment planning. However, reference values are not available for all ethnicities. Our goal was to determine R/C ratios of permanent teeth and their relationship to gender and ethnicity. Setting/Sample: A retrospective study of 333 patients (109 Caucasians, 112 African Americans and 112 Hispanics) from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry. Materials/Methods: Root lengths and crown heights were measured from panoramic radiographs of 6241 teeth using modified Lind's method. A linear mixed model was used to compare the R/C ratios of teeth among subgroups (gender, ethnicity). Results: The mean R/C ratios varied from 1.80 to 2.21 for the maxillary teeth and 1.83-2.49 for the mandibular teeth. Gender differences in R/C ratios were found to be significant only for the lower central incisors (P < 0.05). Hispanics showed significantly lower ratios for most teeth compared to the other two groups (P < 0.05). There were significant differences in R/C ratios between African Americans and Caucasians in the upper lateral incisors, lower central incisors and lower first premolars (P < 0.05). Conclusion: Our results suggest that ethnicity is an important factor in determining the R/C ratios of permanent teeth. Therefore, when diagnosing developmental conditions such as SRA, ethnic group-specific reference values should be considered.