The Jerusalem Perinatal Study recorded information on population-based cohorts of 92 408 live- and stillbirths in 1964–76, and their parents, with active surveillance of infant deaths and birth defects. Data on maternal conditions, obstetric complications and interventions during labour and delivery were recorded for 92% of the births. Subsets were surveyed with antenatal interviews in 1965–68 (n = 11 467), paediatric admissions to hospital (n = 17 782) and postpartum interviews in 1975–76 (n = 16 912). Data from some offspring were linked to records of a health examination at age 17. The offspring, mothers and fathers have been traced recently, their vital status assessed, and the data linked to Israel's Cancer Registry and Psychiatric Registry. This paper describes the different types of data available, their sources, and some potential biases. Characteristics of this unique population are shown. Findings from the study are reviewed and a list of references is provided. The cohorts provide a unique source of data for a wide variety of studies.