In a series of postmenopausal women previously studied by our group, pernicious anemia was associated with reduced bone mineral density of the spine and with vertebral fractures. To determine whether osteoporotic fractures represent an important clinical problem for such patients, we conducted a population-based retrospective cohort study of all Rochester, Minnesota residents newly diagnosed with pernicious anemia from 1950 through 1979. These 131 individuals were followed through the inpatient and outpatient records of all medical care providers in the community for 1550 person-years. In comparison with fracture rates from the general community, patients with pernicious anemia had a 1.9-fold increase in proximal femur fractures, a 1.8-fold increase in vertebral fractures, and a 2.9-fold increase in distal forearm fractures (all p less than 0.05). Increases in the risk of proximal humerus and pelvis fractures were not statistically significant. Clinicians should be aware that pernicious anemia is associated with an increased risk of osteoporotic fractures, but the mechanism is unknown.