We hypothesise that constipated children would be more likely to come from a socially deprived background. We also hypothesise that a percentage of children with resistant constipation would have a congenital gut motility problem that might be recognised at birth, and that some of these would have slow transit constipation that could be recognised on nuclear transit study. One hundred and forty children with a constipation related diagnosis were seen in the last 4 years, and were reviewed as a retrospective audit. Twenty-six children who were felt likely to have a congenital cause for their constipation were offered nuclear colon transit study to search for slow transit constipation. One hundred and forty children from the constipation clinic were reviewed. There were 67 females (47.9%) and 73 males (52.1%), a sex ratio near equality. The mean age at presentation was 5.38 years. Forty-one percent were formally discharged, 36% were lost to follow up, and 23% are still being seen. There was a highly significant tendency for these children to have delayed passage of meconium, as compared normal newborns (P << 0.001). Twenty-six children were considered for possible transit study, and 14 were performed. Four of these were normal, seven showed hold up in the recto-sigmoid, and three showed more proximal slow transit. Two of these probably have non ISTC diagnoses. Social class seems similar to the general population on the criterion employed. Delayed passage of meconium in this group was significantly more frequent than in the general population, but only one of the group seems likely to have truly idiopathic slow transit constipation, and he did not have delayed passage of meconium. There is no evidence for an effect of social class in this population. Idiopathic slow transit constipation itself is rare.