- Using plain hand radiographs, the age dependence of various bone‐aging traits (bone mineral density [BMD], cortical index [CI], osteoarthritis [OA], and osseographic [OSS] scores) was evaluated to test whether the correlation among these traits is an individual‐ or population‐based phenomenon. In addition, the effect of anthropometric features on variation of bone‐aging traits was estimated. The study included 1,295 individuals from Chuvasha, Russia, 18 to 89 years. BMD was measured from the compact compartment of the middle and distal phalanges of both 3rd fingers. The CI of the II–IV metacarpal bones and II–IV proximal phalanges was obtained. The development of OA was based on the standard Kellgren and Lawrence grading scheme for 28 hand joints. OSS score, a surrogate measure that takes into account different kinds of bone changes, was also obtained for each individual. Body weight and height, eight skinfold thicknesses on the trunk and extremities, and breadths of the long bones were measured. Sex‐based univariate analyses and multivariate statistical analysis showed the following: 1) Age dependence was defined more strongly in “OA‐linked” compared to “osteoporosis (OP)‐linked” traits; 2) While “OP‐linked” bone‐aging traits correlated with age differently between sexes, “OA‐linked” traits did not; 3) The strong interrelationship between OA‐linked and OP‐linked traits in both sexes became very weak and statistically insignificant (P > 0.10) after adjustment for age. Thus, OA and OP conditions in the same individual develop independently and probably reflect different underlying physiological mechanisms. 4) Anthropometric characteristics were significantly correlated with bone‐aging traits, but correlations were low (r < 0.20). Thus, the contribution of anthropometric characteristics to the rate and pattern of bone aging of the hand was to relatively small. Am. J. Hum. Biol. 14:380–390, 2002. © 2002 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.