Kidney disease is highly prevalent in the United States population and groups at high risk for increased prevalence of CKD include individuals with a family history of ESRD, diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. Despite the increased risk of ESRD observed for blacks compared with whites, racial disparities in the prevalence of kidney disease have not been consistently demonstrated in the United States population. Although the reasons for discrepancy in risk of ESRD and CKD have not been established, clinicians should be aware that more rapid progression of CKD among blacks is a possible explanation for this observation and that closer monitoring and intensive care of risk factors associated with progressive renal injury is warranted for blacks with CKD and in other high-risk groups. Therapeutic interventions that delay or prevent progressive kidney disease are well established and incorporated into widely disseminated clinical practice guidelines. These interventions include aggressive blood pressure control with agents that block the renin-angiotensin system, reduction of dietary protein to recommended levels for the American diet, weight loss, smoking cessation, and control of hyperlipidemia. These interventions also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and should be regarded as essential components of care of CKD. Achieving high levels of medically appropriate care of CKD patients and reduction in risk of progression to ESRD may be delayed by barriers created by individual and regional poverty.