Since 1 July 1977, all newly diagnosed diabetic children in Sweden aged 0-14 years have been reported to a central register. During the first 6 years, 2300 newly diagnosed diabetic children out of a population of 1.6 million children were registered. The degree of certainty was close to 100%. The mean of the yearly incidence rate for the whole 6 year period was 23.6 per 100000. The prevalence of insulin dependent diabetes mellitus on 1 July 1980 was 1.48 per 1000 and 1.52 on 1 July 1983. Comparing the first and second 3-year periods, an increase was found (22.7-25.1 per 100000). This increase was consistent when analyzing incidence rates by age, sex, and geographical distribution. Cumulative incidence rates revealed a risk of developing diabetes by the age of 15 years of 3.6 per thousand for boys and 3.2 per thousand for girls. The higher incidence for boys was consistent throughout the study period. Seasonal variations in the incidence rate were also consistent, showing yearly incidence peaks in the autumn and winter months. Incidence peaks were noted for both sexes in the pubertal ages. Age- and sex-standardized morbidity ratios varied significantly within the country. 12.8% of the probands had a first degree relative with Type 1 diabetes, and it was twice as common that this relative was a father as a mother. The high and rapidly increasing incidence of Type 1 diabetes in a genetically stable population such as Sweden calls for case-control studies directed towards the identification of environmental pathogens.