To examine the effects of aging on the elasticity of the lungs a single exponential function (V = A - B exp (-KP)), where V is lung volume, P is recoil pressure, and A, B, and K are constants) and a fourth-order polynomial were fitted to the static pressure-volume data from 124 healthy nonsmokers (83 males). K, the index of compliance, was independent of sex and increased with age. B/A and recoil pressures at various lung volumes were higher in males than females, but decreases with age were similar in both sexes. Static compliance (expressed as percent of total lung capacity/cmH2O), derived from the polynomial expression, was the same in males and females and increased with age. The results show that the lungs of males and females have the same intrinsic elasticity, and differences in recoil pressure depend on differences in lung size and in maximum distending forces. Loss of elasticity with age is consistent with an increase in the unstressed dimensions of alveoli and a decrease in their elastic fibers.