This brochure provides updated information on health inequalities between and within the Member States of the European Union. It reviews several health inequality items (especially life expectancy) and explores the role of health determinants with a specific focus on the "Social Gradient", i e the social dimension existing in virtually all factors affecting health status. Specific explanations are provided on the role of European and national policies in this specific field (including funding opportunities) and on their potential contribution to the reduction of health inequalities. Finally, three case studies are spotlighted which describe the benefits achieved in such fields as child health, health of job seekers, and health status of ethnic minorities. This publication is available in printed format in all EU official languages.