Two distinct subtypes of hip fracture, transcervical and pertrochanteric, can be distinguished on the basis of the anatomical location of the injury. While the epidemiology of hip fractures has been well described, typically, little or no distinction is made between these subtypes. The objective of this study was to compare and contrast age- and sex-specific rates of transcervical and pertrochanteric fractures in Quebec, Canada. The data for this study were obtained from a database containing records of all persons discharged from all hospitals in Quebec from 1981 to 1992. Rates of hip fractures were calculated by using the population aged 50 years and older as the denominator, and changes in rates over time were assessed using Poisson regression. There were no statistically significant trends in the changes in rates over time (i.e., 95 percent confidence intervals overlapped the null value). Among women below age 70 years, transcervical fractures were more common, whereas among older women, pertrochanteric fractures predominated. Among men, pertrochanteric fractures predominated at all ages. There was a marked seasonal variation in the occurrence of all hip fractures combined: Compared with the summer months, the relative risk of all hip fractures during the winter was 1.32 (95 percent confidence interval 1.28-1.36). The results of this study indicate that the two subtypes of hip fracture, transcervical and pertrochanteric, have different patterns of occurrence, suggesting different risk factor profiles. Clearly, a multidisciplinary research approach is needed before it will be possible to untangle the complex relation between the metabolic processes occurring at the level of the individual and the distribution of the disease in the population.