Primary objective: To estimate hospitalization charges for the acute care of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) in the US and to identify factors associated with increased charges. Research design: Population-based descriptive study. Methods: The 1996 National Inpatient Sample was used, which contains all-payer data on hospital inpatient stays from 906 hospitals in 19 states. Multivariate linear regression with the log (mean + 1) charges as the dependent variable was used to identify factors associated with increased charges. Results: An estimated 254 500 TBIs required hospitalization in 1996 in the US, with $5.4 billion charged to treat these injuries during acute hospitalization. Patient age (up to 34 years), increasing severity of injury and urban teaching hospitals were associated with higher mean charges in multivariate analysis. Conclusions: Based on hospitalization rates, mean and total charges, segments of the population were identified that are likely candidates for injury prevention interventions.