A sample of over 400,000 men and women, ages 25-64, from the National Longitudinal Mortality Study (NLMS), a cohort study representative of the noninstitutionalized US population, was followed for mortality between the years of 1979 and 1989 in order to compare and contrast the functional forms of the relationships of education and income with mortality. Results from the study suggest that functional forms for both variables are nonlinear. Education is described significantly better by a trichotomy (represented by less than a high school diploma, a high school diploma or greater but no college diploma, or a college diploma or greater) than by a simple linear function for both men (p < 0.0001 for lack of fit) and women (p = 0.006 for lack of fit). For describing the association between income and mortality, a two-sloped function, where the decrease in mortality associated with a US$1000 increase in income is much greater at incomes below US$22,500 than at incomes above US$22,500, fits significantly better than a linear function for both men (p < 0.0001 for lack of fit) and women (p = 0.0005 for lack of fit). The different shapes for the two functional forms imply that differences in mortality may primarily be a function of income at the low end of the socioeconomic continuum, but primarily a function of education at the high end.