Correlates of nonparticipation in the community interview component of the Canadian Study of Health and Aging and their impact on bias in the results were analyzed. Characteristics of study subjects, their habitats, and encouragement techniques were analyzed to indentify correlates of variation in response rates across the 18 study centers. Refusal rates from 14% to 41% varied by age, gender, city size, number of subjects and length of time for enrollment, and method of approach. Cognitively impaired subjects had higher refusal rates which affected prevalence estimates. At one study site, efforts to “convert” subjects who initially refused to participate in the survey were successful with 26% of those who were recontacted.