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The risk factors for middle-age onset of type 2 diabetes are well known. However, information is scant regarding the age onset of type 2 diabetes and its correlates in community-based black and white relatively young adults.This prospective cohort study consisted of normoglycemic (n = 2,459) and type 2 diabetic (n = 144) adults aged 18–50 years who were followed for an average of 16 years.The incidence rate of the onset of type 2 diabetes was 1.6, 4.3, 3.9, and 3.4 per 1,000 person-years for age-groups 18–29, 30–39, and 40–50 and total sample, respectively. Incidences of diabetes increased with age by race and sex groups (P for trend ≤0.01); higher in black females versus white females and blacks versus whites in total sample (P < 0.05). In a multivariable Cox model, baseline parental diabetes (hazard ratio [HR] 5.24) and plasma insulin were significantly associated with diabetes incidence at the youngest age (18–29 years); black race, BMI, and glucose at age 30–39 years; female sex, parental diabetes (HR 2.44), BMI, ratio of triglycerides and HDL cholesterol (TG/HDL-C ratio), and glucose at age 40–50 years; and black race, parental diabetes (HR 2.44), BMI, TG/HDL-C ratio, and glucose in whole cohort. Further, patients with diabetes, regardless of age onset, displayed a significantly higher prevalence of maternal history of diabetes at baseline (P < 0.01).In relatively young adults, predictability of baseline cardiometabolic risk factors along with race, sex, and parental history of diabetes for the onset of type 2 diabetes varied by age-group. These findings have implications for early prevention and intervention in relatively young adults.