This study provides a trend analysis of leprosy among patients in the State of Espírito Santo, Brazil, from 1980 to 2003. Using temporal series statistical models, an upward trend was identified throughout the period in the overall detection rate (p < 0.05), with an apparent stabilization at the end of the period. We also observed an upward trend for the following periods: (i) 1980-1987 in the < 15 and > 50-year age groups and for paucibacillary forms; (ii) 1988-1995 for the 15-19, 20-29, and > 50-year groups and for multibacillary forms; and (iii) 1996-2003 in the 20-29-year group and paucibacillary forms. The indicators for evaluation of the endemic indicate: stable levels in grade 2 disability (mean of 6%); a proportion of less than 10% of cases in individuals < 15 years of age; and a treatment dropout rate of approximately 6%. Prevalence showed a sharp decline. The upward trend can be explained partially by greater surveillance sensitivity, but the high proportion of individuals < 15 highlights the need for studies aimed at better knowledge of residual sources of infection, especially in the household.