Psychiatric admissions in Central Manchester of Europeans, Afro-Caribbeans, and Asians (within three age-bands) were studied over four years. Among the Afro-Caribbean group there were more single or unemployed persons than in either the Asian or European groups, which suggested greater socio-economic disadvantage. Rates for first admissions and readmissions among Afro-Caribbeans were greater; among Asians they were similar except for the 16-29-year age-group, who tended to have lower rates than Europeans. A higher proportion of Afro-Caribbeans and Asians were psychotic. In the Afro-Caribbean group, the raised rates of admission were largely attributable to increased rates of schizophrenia. The highest rate occurred in second-generation (UK-born) Afro-Caribbeans and was nine times that among Europeans. The police were more frequently involved in the admissions of Afro-Caribbeans compared with Europeans or Asians. Higher proportions of Afro-Caribbeans and Asians who were readmitted were detained under the Mental Health Act 1983, when compared with Europeans.