A sample of 53,552 nonmalformed liveborn infants was ascertained by the Latin-American Collaborative Study of Congenital Malformations between 1967 and 1996. The mean consanguinity rate was 0.96%, with significantly higher values in Brazil and Venezuela, and lower in Argentina. Low paternal education and occupation levels were positively associated with consanguinity. First-cousin matings represented almost half of all consanguineous couples. The consanguinity was mainly of more closely related types in Brazil, while in Venezuela more remote types predominated. This could reflect differences in migration patterns and rates between these two countries.