The goal of this study was to estimate the incidence of Parkinson's disease by age, gender, and ethnicity. Newly diagnosed Parkinson's disease cases in 1994-1995 were identified among members of the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program of Northern California, a large health maintenance organization. Each case met modified standardized criteria/Hughes diagnostic criteria as applied by a movement disorder specialist. Incidence rates per 100,000 person-years were calculated using the Kaiser Permanente membership information as the denominator and adjusted for age and/or gender using the direct method of standardization. A total of 588 newly diagnosed (incident) cases of Parkinson's disease were identified, which gave an overall annualized age- and gender-adjusted incidence rate of 13.4 per 100,000 (95% confidence interval (CI): 11.4, 15.5). The incidence rapidly increased over the age of 60 years, with only 4% of the cases being under the age of 50 years. The rate for men (19.0 per 100,000, 95% CI: 16.1, 21.8) was 91% higher than that for women (9.9 per 100,000, 95% CI: 7.6, 12.2). The age- and gender-adjusted rate per 100,000 was highest among Hispanics (16.6, 95% CI: 12.0, 21.3), followed by non-Hispanic Whites (13.6, 95% CI: 11.5, 15.7), Asians (11.3, 95% CI: 7.2, 15.3), and Blacks (10.2, 95% CI: 6.4, 14.0). These data suggest that the incidence of Parkinson's disease varies by race/ethnicity.