Blacks experience a disproportionate risk of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) compared with whites. The increased prevalence of hypertension in blacks has been suggested as an explanation for this increased risk. We were able to examine this possibility using hypertensive ESRD incidence rates in a population with well-characterized prevalence of hypertension and rate of its control. After adjusting rates of hypertensive ESRD for age, sex, and differences in the prevalence of hypertension by race, we found black:white (B:W) relative risk still to be increased. Prevalence estimates for moderate-severe hypertension and differences in the control of hypertension between the two race groups are of insufficient magnitude to explain the increase in adjusted relative risk. This observation provides further support for the possibility that there are racial differences in the susceptibility to renal damage from elevated BP, which may explain increased risk for hypertensive ESRD in blacks, or that hypertension is being erroneously diagnosed as the cause of ESRD in blacks when another cause is present.