OBJECTIVE: To assess the health-related quality of life in an urban population in Chengdu China using the SF-12. METHODS: A random sampling strategy stratified by age and sex was adopted to select the participants in Chengdu. A total of 1365 respondents with an age of older than 18 years completed the interviewer-administered SF-12 survey. The physical (PCS) and mental (MCS) component summary measures of the SF-12 were calculated using the standard US scoring method and compared to the urban population norms of Hong Kong and Australia. RESULTS: Similar PCS and MCS scores were obtained for the urban Chengdu population compared to the Hong Kong and Australian population norms, albeit a closer similarity between the Chengdu and Hong Kong populations. The PCS and MCS scores of the SF-12 changed with sex and age. CONCLUSION: The age- and sex-adjusted PCS and MCS scores of the SF-12 in the urban Chengdu population can serve as a reference for future studies using the SF-12 in China.