OBJECTIVE: Bilirubin is considered an important antioxidant, anti-inflammatory factor and immunomodulator. The current investigation aimed to explore the association between bilirubin and white blood cell (WBC) count in a large Chinese cohort. METHODS: A total of 61091 participants (29259 males, 31832 females) were recruited from a Chinese tertiary hospital. Data were sorted by sex, and the association between bilirubin and WBC count was analyzed after dividing bilirubin levels into quartiles. RESULTS: Most parameters (including age, body mass index, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, alanine aminotransferase, total bilirubin, blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, uric acid, triglycerides and WBC count) were significantly higher in men than in women. Bilirubin displayed significant negative relationships with most other measured variables. Linear logistic regression analysis further indicated their negative relationships. Females showed a significantly higher frequency of leucopenia than males. Significant associations of leucopenia with high bilirubin quartiles were shown in binary logistic regression models for both sexes, with a much closer association in men than in women. For instance, for men with bilirubin levels in quartile 4, the adjusted likelihood of leucopenia was 1.600-times higher than that of men with values in quartile 1. For women with bilirubin levels in quartile 4, the adjusted likelihood of leucopenia was 1.135-times higher than that of women with values in quartile 1. CONCLUSION: Bilirubin is negatively related to WBC count. Significant associations exist between leucopenia and high bilirubin quartiles, and these associations are more obvious in men than in women.