This study compared the pattern of acute glomerulonephritis (AGN), a disease known to be influenced by socioeconomic and environmental factors, in children 12 years and under, for the years 1971 and 1985. All children admitted to the four major paediatric departments with haematuria and at least two of the following (oedema, hypertension or oliguria) had an initial diagnosis of AGN. A sample population from one unit from 1980 to 1984 showed that over 70% of these children had evidence of a post-streptococcal aetiology. In 1971, 411 children were admitted with AGN, as compared with only 58 in 1985. The age-sex-race standardized rates for 1971 and 1985 were 0.632 and 0.023/1,000 children 12 years and under, respectively (P<0.001). The mean age of presentation was lower in 1971. Over this period, Singapore saw a threefold rise in the gross national product, accompanied by rapid urbanization. On analysis of the housing pattern, only 31% of the children lived in high-rise apartments in 1971, in contrast with 86% in 1985 (P<0.001). The majority of non-apartment dwellers had homes in runal districts. From an epidemiological perspective, factors which could have led to the highly significant decline in prevalence of AGN in Singapore children included improvement in the socioeconomic status and health care system, and urbanization of the country.