The question of whether health care inequities occur before patients with end-stage liver disease (ESLD) are waitlisted for transplantation has not previously been assessed. To determine the impact of gender, race and insurance on access to transplantation, we linked Pennsylvania sources of data regarding adult patients discharged from nongovernmental hospitals from 1994 to 2001. We followed the patients through 2003 and linked information to records from five centers responsible for 95% of liver transplants in Pennsylvania during this period. Using multinomial logistic regressions, we estimated probabilities that patients would undergo transplant evaluation, transplant waitlisting and transplantation itself. Of the 144,507 patients in the study, 4361 (3.0%) underwent transplant evaluation. Of those evaluated, 3071 (70.4%) were waitlisted. Of those waitlisted, 1537 (50.0%) received a transplant. Overall, 57,020 (39.5%) died during the study period. Patients were less likely to undergo evaluation, waitlisting and transplantation if they were women, black and lacked commercial insurance (p < 0.001 each). Differences were more pronounced for early stages (evaluation and listing) than for the transplantation stage (in which national oversight and review occur). For early management and treatment decisions of patients with ESLD to be better understood, more comprehensive data concerning referral and listing practices are needed.