The CERAD Neuropsychological Battery, includes 7 measures: Verbal Fluency; Modified Boston Naming; Mini-Mental State: Word List Learning, Recall and Recognition; Constructional Praxis. It was originally developed to evaluate patients with a clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, but is increasingly used in epidemiological studies of the incidence and prevalence of dementia in the elderly. The current study reports norms for African American and White representative community residents 71 years of age and older in North Carolina, and compares performance with that of African Americans in Indianapolis and with Whites in the Monongahela Valley, Pennsylvania. For all 3 studies, increased education and younger age was related to better performance on each of the 7 measures. Sex differences, when present, tended to favor women. Although on average African Americans performed more poorly than Whites, with demographic characteristics controlled, no significant racial differences were found in the North Carolina sample. Both African American and White participants in North Carolina performed more poorly than their racial counterparts in the other 2 studies, possibly because of selection-induced differences in health and educational status. Nevertheless, the use of an identical evaluation battery, such as the CERAD neuropsychologic instrument, facilitates comparisons not otherwise possible, and should be encouraged.