Whereas fractures related to osteoporosis have become a pressing public health concern, relatively few epidemiologic studies have focused on vertebral fractures. To shed further light on the occurrence of this injury, we collected data from the Health Care Financing Administration on 151,986 discharges listing a diagnosis of vertebral fracture over a 4-year period. After adjusting for age, white women experienced the highest rates of discharge, at 17.1 per 10,000 per year, followed by white men (9.9 per 10,000), black women (3.7 per 10,000), and black men (2.5 per 10,000). Among white women, discharge rates rose exponentially from 5.3 discharges per 10,000 population at age 65 to nearly 47.8 per 10,000 at age 90. White men, black women, and black men experienced less dramatic age-related increases in discharge rates. The similarity of these patterns to discharge rates for hip fracture suggests that the race-sex differences in vertebral fracture discharge rates may be due to differences in the incidence of vertebral fracture.