Attaining seed and seedling vigor in cotton is a goal of both researchers and producers. By separating and defining components of seed and seedling vigor, progress can be achieved. Seed vigor should be distinguished from seed viability and defined in terms of low degree of seed deterioration. Varying levels of resistance to seed deterioration have been achieved using different approaches. Three components are proposed for defining seedling vigor: well-developed seedling roots, rapid true-leaf differentiation, and low incidence of seedling disease. Approaches for making improvement in each of these components are discussed. Attaining seed and seedling vigor, and subsequently vigorous stands of cotton, requires an integrated approach and improvement in each component.