We have purified hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) from the bone marrow of old mice and compared their properties to HSCs in young and middle-aged mice. Single, reconstituting HSCs (by limit dilution) from old and young mice exhibited indistinguishable progenitor activities in vivo. HSCs were five times as frequent in the bone marrow of old mice; however, HSCs from old mice were only one-quarter as efficient at homing to and engrafting the bone marrow of irradiated recipients. HSCs in young and middle-aged mice rarely were in the S/G2/M phases of the cell cycle, but HSCs in old mice were frequently in cycle. We speculate that the unexpected proliferation of HSCs in old mice might be related to the increased incidence of leukemia in old mice. HSCs change with age, but it is unknown whether these changes are determined intrinsically or caused by the aging of their environment.