The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center data base contains information collected prospectively on 13,763 persons injured since 1973 and treated at model systems of care throughout the United States. These data clearly demonstrate improved neurologic status and independent function in activities of daily living following acute care and rehabilitation for most persons with spinal cord injuries. Decreased lengths of initial and subsequent hospital stays and increased survival rates are also documented. Most persons are discharged to a private residence in the community and remain there. Many complete their educations and return to gainful employment after injury. Spinal cord injury has only a short-term effect on marriage and divorce rates, which appears to dissipate within a few years after injury. Overall, these figures demonstrate the dramatic improvements in length and quality of life achieved by most persons with spinal cord injuries during the past two decades.