Cognitive impairment and chronic kidney disease (CKD) will become increasingly prevalent in the aging US population. Although evidence exists that CKD is a risk factor for cognitive decline, longitudinal studies are limited and largely have excluded ethnically diverse populations. The Northern Manhattan Study includes a population-based, prospective, stroke-free cohort. We assessed global cognitive function annually using the modified Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status (TICS-m) and estimated kidney function using Cockcroft–Gault creatinine clearance (CCl), Modification of Diet in Renal Disease estimated GFR (eGFR), and serum creatinine (sCr). We examined the association between CKD and change in TICS-m scores over time, adjusting for sociodemographic and vascular risk factors. Of 2172 subjects (mean age 71.5 yr, mean follow-up 2.9 yr), 59% were Hispanic, 20% were black, and 63% were women. Participants with a CCl <60 ml/min and those with a CCl between 60 and 90 ml/min performed significantly worse on the TICS-m over time than those with a CCl >90 ml/min, adjusting for potential confounders. Our results were similar when we used eGFR or sCr to estimate kidney function. In conclusion, decreased kidney function associates with greater cognitive decline, even in those with mild CKD. Kidney disease may represent a novel mechanism leading to cognitive impairment and a target for early intervention.