Kidney disease may be linked to a decline in cognitive activity. We examined the association of microalbuminuria and cognitive function in a general population of older adults in the United States drawn from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of 1999-2002. Cognitive function was measured by digit symbol substitution in 2,386 participants 60 years of age and older of whom 448 had microalbuminuria. Covariates included age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, smoking, diabetes, and hypertension. Among participants with peripheral artery disease, those with microalbuminuria had a significantly lower cognitive function score compared to those with a normal albumin-to-creatinine ratio. The association between microalbuminuria and cognitive function was weak in those without peripheral artery disease. But in those with peripheral artery disease, the odds of microalbuminuria associated with cognitive function in the lowest and middle tertiles was 6.5 and 3.5, respectively.