While disparity in pancreatic cancer incidence between blacks and whites has been observed, few studies have examined disparity in other ethnic minorities. We evaluated variations in pancreatic cancer incidence and assessed the extent to which known risk factors account for differences in pancreatic cancer risk among African Americans, Native Hawaiians, Japanese Americans, Latino Americans, and European Americans in the Multiethnic Cohort Study. Risk factor data were obtained from the baseline questionnaire. Cox regression was used to estimate the relative risks (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for pancreatic cancer associated with risk factors and ethnicity. During an average 16.9-year follow-up, 1,532 incident pancreatic cancer cases were identified among 184,559 at-risk participants. Family history of pancreatic cancer (RR 1.97, 95% CI 1.50-2.58), diabetes (RR 1.32, 95% CI 1.14-1.54), body mass index ≥30 kg/m2 (RR 1.25, 95% CI 1.08-1.46), current smoking (<20 pack-years RR 1.43, 95% CI 1.19-1.73; ≥20 pack-years RR 1.76, 95% CI 1.46-2.12), and red meat intake (RR 1.17, 95% CI 1.00-1.36) were associated with pancreatic cancer. After adjustment for these risk factors, Native Hawaiians (RR 1.60, 95% CI 1.30-1.98), Japanese Americans (RR 1.33, 95% CI 1.15-1.54), and African Americans (RR 1.20, 95% CI 1.01-1.42), but not Latino Americans (RR 0.90, 95% CI 0.76-1.07), had a higher risk of pancreatic cancer compared to European Americans. Interethnic differences in pancreatic cancer risk are not fully explained by differences in the distribution of known risk factors. The greater risks in Native Hawaiians and Japanese Americans are new findings and elucidating the causes of these high rates may improve our understanding and prevention of pancreatic cancer.