Population-based data from the Texas Cancer Registry were used to describe the incidence of cancer in 1990 among Texas residents younger than 20 years. A total of 788 primary malignant neoplasms were diagnosed. Higher incidence of all cancers was observed among Texas Anglo children compared with Hispanics or African-Americans, and lower rates of central nervous system (CNS) neoplasms were seen among Hispanics. Compared with national data, significantly fewer cases of all cancers combined, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, neuroblastoma, and CNS neoplasms were seen in Texas Hispanics. The overall incidence of leukemia and acute nonlymphocytic leukemia (ANLL) was highest in Hispanics compared with other Texas children, and a three-fold statistically significant excess of ANLL was evident in Hispanic females compared with national whites. In summary, the incidence of cancer in Texas Hispanic children and adolescents differs from that seen in other racial and ethnic groups. Incidence data for Texas provide additional insight into the descriptive nature of childhood and adolescent cancers.