The aim of this work was to evaluate the effects of high altitude and low socioeconomic status (SES) on aerobic and anaerobic power in 11-yr-old Bolivian girls. At both high (3,600 m) and low (420 m) altitudes, low-SES groups of girls were compared to similarly aged, high-SES girls. At low altitude, low-SES girls were also compared with younger high-SES girls with the same anthropometric characteristics. Anthropometric data were similar between high-SES and low-SES girls at both altitudes, but low-SES girls showed a 9-mo growth delay. Maximal O2 uptake was significantly lower for low-SES girls at both altitudes. Values did not differ when expressed relative to body weight at high altitude for high-SES vs. low-SES girls (37.6 ± 1.2 vs. 39.3 ± 1.0 ml · min-1 · kg body wt-1), but a difference persisted at low altitude between high- and low-SES girls (37.5 ± 1.0 vs. 34.7 ± 0.7 ml · min-1 · kg body wt-1). Anaerobic power (P(max), force- velocity test; P(Wing), Wingate test) was reduced for low-SES girls at both altitudes, whatever the mode of expression. For a given SES, the relative anaerobic performances were lower at low altitude. At low altitude, low-SES girls developed lower anaerobic power than did younger high-SES girls with similar anthropometric characteristics. In conclusion, at both altitudes, the reduction of anaerobic performances observed in girls of low SES could not be totally explained by anthropometric factors. Structural and/or functional muscle alterations are suggested. Moreover, at low altitude, tropical and other factors may have contributed to differences in performance between low- and high-SES girls.