In order to compare the prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis D virus (HDV) infection among five ethnic groups in Pingtung County of southern Taiwan, a total of 240 serum samples were collected from September to October, 1985, from the following five ethnic groups: Taiwanese, Hakka, Mainland Chinese, aboriginal Paiwanese, and aboriginal Rukaiese. Ages of subjects ranged from 5 to 69 years. All sera were tested for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), surface antibody (anti-HBs), and core antibody (anti-HBc) by radioimmunoassay (RIA). Hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) and antibody to hepatitis D antigen (anti-HDV) were also tested for those with HBsAg-positive sera. Results showed that 44.1% of all sera examined were negative for HBsAG but positive for both anti-HBs and anti-HBc; additionally, 24.6% were negative for both HBsAg and anti-HBs but positive for anti-HBc. Only 134 serum samples showed negative results for HBV markers, indicating an HBV infection rate of 88.8%. The anti-HDV positive rate was estimated to be 2.7% among HBsAg-positive subjects. The HBsAg-positive rates among Rukaiese, Paiwanese, Hakka, Taiwanese, and Mainland Chinese were 25.8, 22.5, 16.7, 12.9, and 10.0%, respectively; while the prevalence rates of HBV infection among the above five groups were 94.2, 94.6, 85.4, 87.5, and 82.5%, respectively. Differences in the HBsAg-positive rate and HBV infection rate among these ethnic groups were statistically significant. We conclude that people living in Pingtung County are more frequently infected with HBV when compared with inhabitants in northern Taiwan.