Background/Aims: Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a growing public health problem. However, data on risk factors and prevalence of CKD exist only in a small number of countries. Portugal has the highest incidence of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) among European countries, but there are huge disparities among countries. Whether these disparities reflect differences in risk factors, prevalence of CKD or other factors is currently unknown. Methods: We analyzed data from a nationally representative sample of 5,167 subjects, and estimated the prevalence of CKD and associated risk factors, and combined these prevalence estimates with available data on ESRD. Results: The prevalence of risk factors such as diabetes (11.7%), obesity (33.7%), and metabolic syndrome (41.5%) was similar to that in the US, but greater than in most European countries. The prevalence of CKD stages 3–5 was 6.1%, which is similar to that in other Western countries. The risk of ESRD was greater than in other European countries, but lower than in the US. Conclusion: The high incidence of ESRD among the Portuguese population is not due to a greater prevalence of CKD. A higher rate of progression associated with the high prevalence of risk factors may account for the high incidence of ESRD. The role of unmeasured factors needs to be evaluated in further studies.