The authors investigated the cumulative effects of life course social class and neighborhood socioeconomic conditions on the prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in adulthood. Subjects were members of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study, a longitudinal cohort study of four US communities. CKD was defined by glomerular filtration rate <45 ml/min/1.73 m2 or hospital discharge diagnosis. Working class was defined by workplace roles for subjects and their fathers; area socioeconomic status (SES) was based on census information. Being working class for all life course periods or for some life course periods was associated with increased odds of CKD, compared to being non-working class for all periods (adjusted odds ratio, OR, for all periods (95% confidence interval) 1.4 (0.9, 2.0) in Whites and 1.9 (1.3, 2.9) in African-Americans; OR for some periods 1.3 (1.0, 1.9) in Whites and 1.4 (0.9, 2.2) in African-Americans). Low area SES over the life course was not significantly related to CKD compared to living in a higher SES areas at all life course periods. Adjustment for age, gender, community of residence, cumulative social class (for neighborhood measures), cumulative low-neighborhood SES (for cumulative individual social class), hypertension and diabetes does not account for these associations. Our conclusion is that chronic kidney disease is associated with life course socioeconomic conditions. As such, life course social class and neighborhood conditions deserve further attention in accounting for socioeconomic disparities in kidney disease.