Aim The present study examined whether ethnicity independently predicted future falls among community‐dwelling older Singaporeans, and whether ethnicity moderated the relationships between falls risk factors at baseline and falls at follow up. Methods Data from a longitudinal survey of older Singaporeans were used. Baseline assessment included handgrip strength, global cognitive function, mobility difficulties, health and psychosocial status. One‐year retrospective falls information at follow up was the primary outcome. Results Final analysis included 1975 participants (mean age 73.6 ± 6.2 years, 53% women). Indians, followed by Malays, had a higher risk of falling compared with Chinese at follow up. This association remained after controlling for falls risk factors. Self‐reported pain and poor global cognitive function imposed a substantial increment in the risk of falling among Malays compared with Chinese, but not Indians. Conclusion Ethnicity was a significant predictor of future falls among older Singaporeans. Falls screening and intervention should take ethnicity into account to reach and support the appropriate target population. Geriatr Gerontol Int 2017; ••: ••–••.