To characterize the epidemiologic features of respiratory diseases among Hispanics, we conducted a prevalence survey in Bernalillo County, New Mexico. The ATS-DLD-78 respiratory symptoms questionnaire was completed by 633 Hispanics and 1,038 Anglos (non-Hispanic whites) with an overall response rate of 72%. The prevalence of major respiratory diseases differed between the groups. Physician-confirmed chronic bronchitis or emphysema, and asthma were reported less often by Hispanics. Although patterns of cigarette usage (current, previous, never) were similar, current and cumulative cigarette consumption was significantly lower in Hispanics. Most differences in symptom frequency and the lower Hispanic prevalence of chronic bronchitis or emphysema were attributable to lower cigarette consumption by Hispanics. However, the prevalence of asthma remained significantly lower among Hispanics after controlling for cigarette smoking. These results documented differences in the prevalence of respiratory disease between the Hispanics and Anglos, which were partially explained by the distributions of known risk factors.