The first aim of this study was to examine differentials in mortality among Israeli adult women with respect to ethnic origin, marital status, number of children and several measures of socio-economic status; the second was to compare mortality differentials among women with those found for Israeli men. Data are based on a linkage of records from a 20% sample of the 1983 census with the records of deaths occurring until the end of 1992. The study population includes 79,623 women and the number of deaths was 14,332. Measures of SES included education, number of rooms, household amenities and possession of a car. Results indicated higher mortality among women originating from North Africa compared with Asian and European women. Adjustment to SES eliminated the excess mortality among North African women and revealed a lower mortality of Asian women, relative to Europeans. Among women aged 45-69, substantial and consistent mortality differentials were evident for all SES indicators examined where mortality declined with improved socio-economic position. Mortality was related to women's childbearing history, with the highest mortality among childless women. Mortality differentials among women aged 70+ were generally narrower than those found for younger women. Gender differences in mortality differentials varied by the socio-demographic indicator and age.