BACKGROUND: The ESPN/ERA-EDTA Registry collects data on European children with end-stage renal disease receiving renal replacement therapy (RRT) who are listed on national and regional renal registries in Europe. In this paper we report on the analysis of demographic data collected from 2009 to 2011. METHODS: Data on primary renal disease, incidence, prevalence, 4-year survival, transplantation rate and causes of death in paediatric patients receiving RRT were extracted from the ESPN/ERA-EDTA Registry for 37 European countries. RESULTS: The incidence of RRT in paediatric patients in Europe during the study period was 5.5 cases per million age-related population (pmarp) in patients aged 0-14 years and varied markedly between countries (interquartile range 3.4-7.0 years). The prevalence of RRT was 27.9 pmarp and increased with age, with 67 % of prevalent patients living with a functioning graft. The probability of receiving a transplant within 4 years was 76.9 % and was lowest in patients aged 0-4 years (68.9 %). Mortality in paediatric patients treated with RRT was 55-fold higher than that of the general EU paediatric population. Overall survival at 4 years was 93.7 %, with the poorest survival in patients aged 0-4 years and in patients starting on dialysis. Infections (19.9 %) were the primary cause of death in European paediatric RRT patients. CONCLUSION: Considerable variation exists in the current demographics of children treated with RRT across Europe.