Prevalence rates of respiratory symptoms and diseases in a large group of Anglos and Mexican-Americans were analyzed. Each subject completed a questionnaire. Among current smokers, chronic productive cough and dyspnea were significantly higher in both ethnic groups; wheezy symptoms were higher in Anglos. There were no significant differences in the symptom prevalence rates between the two groups, after stratifying by current cigarette consumption and CRT. The spirometric values were not significantly different. In both ethnic groups, the prevalence rates of wheeze, SOBWHZ and asthma were significantly higher in those who had CRT. Among Anglos, less educated smokers had significantly higher prevalence rates of SOBWHZ and dyspnea; nonsmokers with less education had higher prevalence rates of cough, chronic cough and dyspnea. Results confirm the importance of CRT and lower educational level as risk factors for respiratory symptoms. Ethnicity is not associated with symptomatology or lung function impairment.