Risk factors for renal cell carcinoma were examined in a population based case-control study in Denmark. A total of 368 cases and 396 age- and gender-matched controls were interviewed in their homes. Increased risk was associated with low socioeconomic status. For men, an increasing risk with decreasing socioeconomic status was seen (odds ratio [OR] = 2.2, 95 percent confidence interval [CI] = 1.0-4.6 for men in the lowest socioeconomic stratum cf the highest). For women, the risk was lower in the highest socioeconomic stratum compared with the rest (OR = 2.4, CI = 0.9-5.9 for the lowest strata cf the highest). Cigarette smoking was a risk factor in men with an OR = 2.3 (CI = 1.1-5.1) for cigarette smokers with a total consumption of more than 40 pack-years compared with nonsmokers. Family history of kidney cancer was associated with an increased risk in both genders (for men, OR = 4.1, CI = 1.1-14.9; for women, OR = 4.8, CI = 1.0-23). Observations were inconsistent regarding coffee and alcohol consumption, and we found no association with tea drinking. The association with socioeconomic status remained after adjustment for other factors.