Evidence suggests the transcription factor GATA-2 is a critical regulator of murine hematopoietic stem cells. Here, we explore the relation between GATA-2 and cell proliferation and show that inducing GATA-2 increases quiescence (G(0) residency) of murine and human hematopoietic cells. In human cord blood, quiescent fractions (CD34(+)CD38(-)Hoechst(lo)Pyronin Y(lo)) express more GATA-2 than cycling counterparts. Enforcing GATA-2 expression increased quiescence of cord blood cells, reducing proliferation and performance in long-term culture-initiating cell and colony-forming cell (CFC) assays. Gene expression analysis places GATA-2 upstream of the quiescence regulator MEF, but enforcing MEF expression does not prevent GATA-2-conferred quiescence, suggesting additional regulators are involved. Although known quiescence regulators p21(CIP1) and p27(KIP1) do not appear to be responsible, enforcing GATA-2 reduced expression of regulators of cell cycle such as CCND3, CDK4, and CDK6. Enforcing GATA-2 inhibited human hematopoiesis in vivo: cells with highest exogenous expression (GATA-2(hi)) failed to contribute to hematopoiesis in nonobese diabetic-severe combined immunodeficient (NOD-SCID) mice, whereas GATA-2(lo) cells contributed with delayed kinetics and low efficiency, with reduced expression of Ki-67. Thus, GATA-2 activity inhibits cell cycle in vitro and in vivo, highlighting GATA-2 as a molecular entry point into the transcriptional program regulating quiescence in human hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells.