BACKGROUND Lower access and/or utilization of colorectal screening are thought to be major contributors to the higher proportion of cancers among African Americans and Hispanics that are diagnosed at advanced stages of disease and the poorer outcomes observed among Hispanics and African Americans compared with non-Hispanic whites. We examine rates of initiation, utilization of specific screening modalities, adherence tocolorectal screening guidelines, and rate of uptake of colonoscopy among age-eligible African Americans, Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites. METHODS Data on 46145 African American, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic white survey respondents to the 2000 and 2005 Cancer Control Modules and the 2003 and 2008 Sample Adult Cores of the National Health Interview Surveys are examined in these analyses. RESULTS There was a modest increase in the initiation of colorectal screening among non-Hispanic whites, only and racial/ethnic disparities colorectal screening utilization persisted. The proportion of respondents for whom colonoscopy was the most complete guideline consistent exam received increased over time, while use of other modalities decreased among all racial/ethnic groups. CONCLUSION More effort must be made to increase colorectal screening among the U.S. population in general but particularly among racial/ethnic minority populations. With the increased attention on prevention, there is also a need to increase knowledge of the strengths and limitations of specific screening modalities and the need to receive screening exams within recommended time intervals among both patients and providers making screening recommendations.