We investigated the prevalence rate of anemia in a study of the health of the elderly population in four Taiwan urban communities. A total of 2,518 noninstitutionalized persons aged 65-93 were evaluated in 1989-1991. The age-adjusted prevalence rates of anemia (hemoglobin < 12.5 g/dl in men and < 11.5 g/dl in women) were 6.5% in men and 8.3% in women. Prevalence rates increased significantly with age in women, while they were not so prominent in men. The men with anemia had higher creatinine and thyroid stimulating hormone levels, but had lower bilirubin and albumin level than men without anemia. Compared with the non-anemic female group, the anemic women had higher creatinine and lower bilirubin and albumin levels. Regardless of sex, anemic elderly had significantly higher rates of high serum creatinine. Hence, high serum creatinine may be one of the important factors of anemia in the elderly.