We investigate the spectrum of vector modes today which is generated at second order by density perturbations. The vector mode background that is generated by structure formation is small but in principle it contributes to the integrated Sachs-Wolfe effect, to redshift-space distortions and to weak lensing. We recover, clarify and extend previous results, and explain carefully why no vorticity is generated in the fluid at second order. The amplitude of the induced vector mode in the metric is around 1% that of the first-order scalars on small scales. We also calculate the power spectrum and the energy density of the vector part of the shear at second order.