Aim of this study is to estimate the gender- and age-specific 10-year and lifetime absolute risks of non-vertebral and osteoporotic (included hip, distal forearm and proximal humerus) fractures in a large cohort of men and women. This is a population-based 10 years follow-up study of 26,891 subjects aged 25 years and older in Tromsø, Norway. All non-vertebral fractures were registered from 1995 throughout 2004 by computerized search in radiographic archives. Absolute risks were estimated by life-table method taking into account the competing risk of death. The absolute fracture risk at each year of age was estimated for the next 10 years (10-year risk) or up to the age of 90 years (lifetime risk). The estimated 10-year absolute risk of all non-vertebral fracture was higher in men than women before but not after the age of 45 years. The 10-year absolute risk for non-vertebral and osteoporotic fractures was over 10%, respectively, in men over 65 and 70 years and in women over 45 and 50 years of age. The 10-year absolute risks of hip fractures at the age of 65 and 80 years were 4.2 and 18.6% in men, and 9.0 and 24.0% in women, respectively. The risk estimates for distal forearm and proximal humerus fractures were under 5% in men and 13% in women. The estimated lifetime risks for all fracture locations were higher in women than men at all ages. At the age of 50 years, the risks were 38.1 and 24.8% in men and 67.4 and 55.0% in women for all non-vertebral and osteoporotic fractures, respectively. The estimated gender- and age-specific 10-year and lifetime absolute fracture risk were higher in Tromsø than in other populations. The high lifetime fracture risk reflects the increased burden of fractures in this cohort.