The Genetic Epidemiology of COPD (COPDGene) study is a noninterventional, multicenter, longitudinal analysis of > 10,000 subjects, including smokers with a ≥ 10 pack-year history with and without COPD and healthy never smokers. The goal was to characterize disease-related phenotypes and explore associations with susceptibility genes. The subjects were extensively phenotyped with the use of comprehensive symptom and comorbidity questionnaires, spirometry, CT scans of the chest, and genetic and biomarker profiling. The objective of this review was to summarize the major advances in the clinical epidemiology of COPD from the first 10 years of the COPDGene study. We highlight the influence of age, sex, and race on the natural history of COPD, and the impact of comorbid conditions, chronic bronchitis, exacerbations, and asthma/COPD overlap.