When compared with Whites, Black-Americans may have a 40% higher incidence venous thromboembolism (VTE) incidence. However, whether other VTE characteristics and risk factors vary by race is uncertain. To compare demographic and baseline characteristics among White- and Black-Americans with VTE, we used data prospectively collected from consecutive consenting adults enrolled in seven Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Thrombosis and Hemostasis Centers from August 2003 to March 2009. These characteristics were compared among Whites (n = 2002) and Blacks (n = 395) with objectively diagnosed VTE, both overall, and by age and gender. When compared with Whites, Blacks had a significantly higher proportion with pulmonary embolism (PE), including idiopathic PE among Black women, and a significantly higher proportion of Blacks were women. Blacks had a significantly higher mean BMI and a significantly lower proportion with recent surgery, trauma or infection, family history of VTE, and documented thrombophilia (solely from reduced factor V Leiden and prothrombin G20210A prevalence). Conversely, Blacks had a significantly higher proportion with hypertension, diabetes mellitus, chronic renal disease and dialysis, HIV, and sickle cell disease. When compared with White women, Black women had a significantly lower proportion with recent oral contraceptive use or hormone therapy. We conclude that Whites and Blacks differ significantly regarding demographic and baseline characteristics that may be risk factors for VTE. The prevalence of transient VTE risk factors and idiopathic VTE among Blacks appears to be lower and higher, respectively, suggesting that heritability may be important in the etiology of VTE among Black-Americans. Am. J. Hematol. 85:467–471, 2010 © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.