A cohort study was done to determine the direct impact of hip fracture on mortality in older people. Survival was compared between 211 hip fracture patients from a defined area and 201 non-hip fracture control subjects randomly selected from the same area. The mortality rate 1 year after hip fracture was 21.7%; 1-year mortality in the comparison group was 4.7%. The crude hazard ratio for hip fracture and mortality was 4.0 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.2, 7.4); adjusting for multiple health-related variables reduced it to 3.3 (95% CI = 1.7, 6.5). This finding suggests that the observed excess mortality after hip fracture is not explained by poor prefracture health status.