During the past decades a rising trend of living alone can be observed in the population especially in urban areas. Living alone is considered a psychosocial risk factor. We studied the relationship between living alone, cardiovascular risk factors and mortality. We analysed data from the population-based MONICA/KORA cohort study including 3596 men and 3420 women of at least one of three surveys carried out between 1984 and 1995 in the region of Augsburg, Germany. They were between 45 and 74 years old and were followed-up until 31 December 2002. During follow-up 811 men and 388 women died. Cox proportional hazards analysis was used to examine the association between living alone and mortality.