© 2015 Taylor & Francis. Objective: To identify approximately 500 cases of incident cognitive impairment (ICI) in a large, national sample adapting an existing cognitive test-based case definition and to examine relationships of vascular risk factors with ICI. Method: Participants were from the REGARDS study, a national sample of 30,239 African-American and White Americans. Participants included in this analysis had normal cognitive screening and no history of stroke at baseline, and at least one follow-up cognitive assessment with a three-test battery (TTB). Regression-based norms were applied to TTB scores to identify cases of ICI. Logistic regression was used to model associations with baseline vascular risk factors. Results: We identified 495 participants with ICI of 17,630 eligible participants. In multivariable modeling, income (OR 1.83 CI 1.27,2.62), stroke belt residence (OR 1.45 CI 1.18,1.78), history of transient ischemic attack (OR 1.90 CI 1.29,2.81), coronary artery disease(OR 1.32 CI 1.02,1.70), diabetes (OR 1.48 CI 1.17,1.87), obesity (OR 1.40 CI 1.05,1.86), and incident stroke (OR 2.73 CI 1.52,4.90) were associated with ICI. Conclusions: We adapted a previously validated cognitive test-based case definition to identify cases of ICI. Many previously identified risk factors were associated with ICI, supporting the criterion-related validity of our definition.