Background: We sought to determine the extent to which recent increases in levels of gender and racial diversity in the overall resident-physician workforce were evident among core-surgical specialty resident workforces. Study design: Chi-square tests for trend assessed the importance of changes from 1996 to 2004 in proportions of women and African Americans in the surgery-resident workforce. Surgery-resident trends were compared with overall resident workforce trends using two-tailed t-tests to compare regression slopes that quantified rates of change over time. Chi-square tests assessed differences between proportions of women and African Americans in the current overall board-certified workforce and their proportions in the surgery board-certified workforce. Results: From 1996 to 2004, proportions of women increased in all seven surgical specialties studied. Compared with the overall trend toward increasing proportions of women in the resident workforce, the trend in one surgical specialty was larger (obstetrics/gynecology, p < 0.01), four were similar (each p > 0.05), and two were smaller (each p < 0.001). Proportions of African Americans increased in four specialties. Compared with the overall trend, trends in two specialties were larger (obstetrics/gynecology and neurologic surgery, each p < 0.01) and two were similar (each p > 0.05). Proportions of African Americans decreased in three specialties (each p < 0.01). Proportions of women and African Americans in every board-certified specialty workforce, except obstetrics/gynecology, remained lower than in the overall board-certified workforce (each p < 0.01). Conclusions: Many demographic disparities between the surgery-resident and overall-resident workforces have persisted since 1996 and will likely perpetuate ongoing surgery board-certified workforce disparities.