Ninety-four Olmsted County, Minnesota residents with temporal arteritis (TA) initially diagnosed between 1950 and 1985 (incidence cohort) were identified. The age- and sex-adjusted incidence of TA per 100,000 population age 50 years or older was 17.0 (95% confidence interval [CI] 13.6-20.5), with a marked increase in incidence with age and a threefold greater incidence in women (23.4, 95% CI 18.2-28.7) than in men (7.4, 95% CI 3.7-11.0). The previously described secular increase in TA incidence in Olmsted County women continued from 1970 through 1985, while TA incidence in men declined in this latter time period. Although the frequency of classic clinical manifestations of TA declined over time, the percentage of patients undergoing biopsy who have positive specimens remained relatively constant (women 41%, men 26%). The incidence rate of temporal artery biopsy also increased for women during this period, but declined for men, suggesting that the differing trends in TA incidence by sex may be partially attributable to a detection bias. Future research in TA etiology and epidemiology should focus on possible causal factors linked to the differential TA incidence by sex.