In this article the organization and accuracy of the population registry and administrative data base in Manitoba, Canada are discussed. The overall data management strategy and a framework for analyzing the accuracy of such data are presented. The generally high quality of the Manitoba registry file (necessary to track individuals over time) and the hospital claims is supported by comparisons with other data sources. Hospital claims' main quality problems concern the reliability of certain secondary diagnoses and the level of aggregation necessary for reasonable agreement with other data collection methods (such as chart reviews). Finally, some of the research possibilities associated with population registries and administrative data are outlined.