Hispanics constitute a significant segment of New York City's population. The incidence of cancer in this group has not been previously documented. This report compares cancer incidence among Hispanics in New York City with cancer incidence among non-Hispanic whites (whites) in New York City and among Puerto Ricans residing in Puerto Rico, for the years 1982 through 1985. For most major cancer sites, including colon, rectum, malignant melanoma of the skin, lung and bronchus, urinary bladder and kidney, incidence rates for whites were substantially higher than rates for Hispanics or Puerto Ricans. Incidence rates for Puerto Ricans were generally lower than those observed in whites or Hispanics in general, including Puerto Ricans. Incidence rates for cancers of the buccal cavity and pharynx were lower among whites than Hispanics and only half those of Puerto Ricans. Stomach cancer rates varied in a similar manner. The striking exception was cancer of the cervix uteri. The incidence rate for cancer of the uterine cervix in Hispanic women was more than 2.5 times higher than the rate for white women (19.35 vs 7.33). The difference between Puerto Ricans and whites was nearly as great.