Objective: To characterize patient-level clinically meaningful improvements in pain and limitation of key activities of daily living (ADLs) after primary or revision total hip arthroplasty (THA). Methods: We analysed prospectively collected data from the Mayo Clinic Total Joint Registry to study clinically meaningful improvements in index hip pain severity and limitation in seven key ADLs (walking, climbing stairs, putting on shoes/socks, picking up objects, getting in/out of car, rising from a chair and sitting), from preoperative to 2- and 5-year post-THA. Results: The primary THA cohort consisted of 6168 responders preoperatively, 5707 at 2 years and 3289 at 5 years postoperatively. The revision THA cohort consisted of 2063 responders preoperatively, 2682 at 2 years and 1627 at 5 years postoperatively. In the primary THA cohort, clinically meaningful pain reduction to mild or no hip pain at 2 years was reported by 94% with moderate and 91% with severe preoperative pain; respective proportions were 91% and 89% at 5-year follow-up. For revision THA, respective proportions were 84% and 77% at 2 years and 80% and 78% at 5 years. In the primary THA cohort, up to 4% with moderate and 17% with severe preoperative ADL limitation reported severe limitation in the respective activity 2 years post-primary THA; at 5 years, the respective proportions were up to 7% and 20%. Respective proportions for revision THA were up to 10% and 26% at 2 years and 13% and 30% at 5 years. Conclusions: These comprehensive data for patient-level clinically meaningful improvements in pain and seven key ADLs can help patients set realistic goals for improvement after THA. © The Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Rheumatology. All rights reserved.