Atrial fibrillation (AF) commonly complicates the postoperative course after coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). Among the general population, African Americans have been shown to have a lower prevalence of AF than European Americans. Although many factors have been identified to predict risk for postoperative AF, race has not been examined. All patients aged ≥18 years who underwent CABG at Henry Ford Hospital during a 5-year period from January 1, 2004, to December 31, 2008, were included. Patients were excluded for any previous diagnosis of AF or if they had concomitant valve surgery at the time of CABG. The incidence of AF was determined by International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, coding from postoperative hospitalization records. Overall, 1,001 patients were eligible for analysis. Of these, 731 (73%) were European American and 270 (27%) were African American. The African American group had a higher prevalence of hypertension (75.6% vs 58.8%, p <0.001) and heart failure (22.6% vs 15.7%, p = 0.01) and a trend toward a higher prevalence of diabetes mellitus (38.1% vs 33.4%, p = 0.159). Postoperative AF was diagnosed in 214 European Americans (29.3%) and 50 African Americans (18.5%) (p = 0.001). In multivariate analysis adjusting for age strata, gender, hypertension, diabetes, and heart failure, African Americans had less postoperative AF than European Americans, with an adjusted odds ratio of 0.539 (95% confidence interval 0.374 to 0.777, p = 0.001). In conclusion, African Americans have a significantly reduced incidence of AF compared to European Americans after CABG.