Lymphoblasts from 186 consecutive untreated children <18 years were analysed by flow cytometry in Brazil. Socio-economic status was defined by family income; undernourishment by height and weight for age standardised z scores below -1.28. The observed frequencies were precursor-B (pre-B) CD10 positive acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) (CD10+) 65%, pre-B CD10 negative (CD10-) 13%, and T-ALL 18%. The typical incidence peak at age 2-5 years was observed among the CD10 positive cases. Nutritional variables were not associated with immunophenotypes. Low monthly per capita income was associated with T-immunophenotype (P=0.024). In conclusion, a direct association between unfavourable socio-economic status and the T-phenotype indicates a potential role of socio-economic factors on the genesis of ALL in children, thus confirming indirect data of the international literature.