Mexican Americans are the second largest minority group in the United States (8.73 million people according to the 1980 US census) and are known to have an excess prevalence of obesity and non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, but similar or lower rates of hypertension when compared with non-Hispanic whites. To our knowledge, no data are available on incidence of end-stage renal disease in this population. Using a data base from the Texas Kidney Health Program, a division of the Texas Department of Health, and the 1980 US census for the state of Texas, the authors calculated age-adjusted incidence of treatment of end-stage renal disease in Mexican Americans, non-Hispanic whites, and blacks for the years 1978-1984. Mexican Americans and blacks have an excess of treatment of end-stage renal disease (all etiologies combined) compared with non-Hispanic whites (incidence ratios of 3 and 4, respectively). For diabetes-related end-stage renal disease, Mexican Americans have an incidence ratio of 6, while blacks have an incidence ratio of 4 compared with non-Hispanic whites. For Mexican Americans, this excess is higher than would be expected on the basis of their underlying prevalence of diabetes. The incidence of hypertensive end-stage renal disease in Mexican Americans was 2.5 times higher than in non-Hispanic whites, which is higher than expected given the lack of excess in their underlying prevalence of hypertension. The high prevalence of diabetes in Mexican Americans explains some, but not all, of the excess of treatment of end-stage renal disease in this population.