In this paper, we investigate the permanence of an SIR epidemic model with a density-dependent birth rate and a distributed time delay. We first consider the attractivity of the disease-free equilibrium and then show that for any time delay, the delayed SIR epidemic model is permanent if and only if an endemic equilibrium exists. Numerical examples are given to illustrate the theoretical analysis. The results obtained are also compared with those from the analog system with a discrete time delay. (C) 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.