We aimed to explore the role of white matter hyperintensities (WMH) in progression of cerebral small vessel disease (CSVD) in an urban community in China over a period of 7 years, and to investigate associations between WMH volume (baseline and progression) and cognitive impairment. CSVD markers and neuropsychological tests at baseline and follow-up of 191 participants of the Shanghai Aging Study (SAS) were assessed. WMH volume were assessed by automatic segmentation based on U-net model. Lacunes, cerebral microbleeds (CMBs) and enlarged perivascular spaces (ePVS) were rated manually. Small vessel disease (SVD) score was rated as the total burden of CSVD markers. Global cognitive function and 5 main cognitive domains (memory, language, spatial construction, attention and executive function) were evaluated by neuropsychological tests. We performed multivariable linear regression and binominal logistic regression. Participants with higher baseline WMH volume developed more progression of WMH volume, increased risk of incident lacunes, incident CMBs, and ePVS progression. WMH (baseline and progression) were associated with decline of executive function. WMH were associated with progression of cerebral small vessel disease and decline of executive function in a Chinese urban community study over a period of 7 years.