Chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) is a complication of unresolved organised pulmonary emboli/thrombi obstructing the major pulmonary arteries. The aim of this study was to estimate the incidence and risk factors of CTEPH in a cohort with first venous thromboembolism (VTE). This was a population-based cohort study of patients with first VTE and no active cancer in England between 2001 and 2012. CTEPH was assessed using a rigorous case-ascertainment algorithm. Risk factors for CTEPH were studied using a nested case-control approach by matching CTEPH cases to VTE patients without CTEPH. Adjusted odds ratios (OR) of comorbidities were estimated from conditional logistic regression. During 81,413 person-years of follow-up among 23,329 patients with first VTE (mean follow-up 3.5 years; maximum 11.0 years) 283 patients were diagnosed with CTEPH (incidence rate 3.5 per 1000 person-years); cumulative incidence was 1.3% and 3.3% at 2 and 10 years after pulmonary embolism, and 0.3% and 1.3% following deep vein thrombosis (DVT), respectively. Risk factors for CTEPH included age over 70, OR 2.04 (95% CI 1.23 to 3.38), female gender, 1.44 (1.06 to 1.94), pulmonary embolism at first VTE, 3.11 (2.23 to 4.35), subsequent pulmonary embolism and DVT, 3.17 (2.02 to 4.96) and 2.46 (1.34 to 4.51) respectively, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 3.17 (2.13 to 4.73), heart failure 2.52 (1.76 to 3.63) and atrial fibrillation, 2.42 (1.71 to 3.42). CTEPH develops most commonly after pulmonary embolism and less frequently after DVT. Awareness of risk factors may increase referrals to specialised centres for confirmation of CTEPH and initiation of specific treatment.