Although there is growing concern that amphibian populations are declining globally, much of the supporting evidence is either anecdotal or derived from short-term studies at small geographical scales. This raises questions not only about the difficulty of detecting temporal trends in populations which are notoriously variable, but also about the validity of inferring global trends from local or regional studies. Here we use data from 936 populations to assess large-scale temporal and spatial variations in amphibian population trends. On a global scale, our results indicate relatively rapid declines from the late 1950s/early 1960s to the late 1960s, followed by a reduced rate of decline to the present. Amphibian population trends during the 1960s were negative in western Europe (including the United Kingdom) and North America, but only the latter populations showed declines from the 1970s to the late 1990s. These results suggest that while large-scale trends show considerable geographical and temporal variability, amphibian populations are in fact declining--and that this decline has been happening for several decades.