This article presents a detailed account of the incidence, prevalence, and survival experience of people with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) covered by Medicare. The number of new entrants into the ESRD program has risen since its inception. This increase is greatest for people whose cause of renal failure is primary hypertensive disease or diabetic nephropathy. The program incidence rates for black people is 2.8 times that of white people. Incidence is highest for persons 65 to 69 years of age. Total patient survival is 44 percent 5 years after renal failure onset. Total Medicare enrollment for ESRD quadrupled between the years 1974 and 1981.