We determined the prevalence of dementia and probable senile dementia of the Alzheimer type (SDAT) for biennial Exam 17 of the Framingham cohort (1982/1983). The prevalence of dementia was 30.5/1,000 for men and 48.2/1,000 for women and increased with advancing age. Cases of probable SDAT constituted 55.6% of all dementia cases. THe prevalence of SDAT was 11.7/1,000 for men and 30.1/1,000 for women and also increased with advancing age. Prevalence of dementia and probable SDAT were greater for women than men. The female:male ratio of prevalence for cohort members 75 years of age and older was 1.8 for all cases of dementia and 2.8 for cases of probable SDAT.