Lymphocyte populations in the immune system are maintained by a well-organized balance between cellular proliferation, cellular survival and programmed cell death (apoptosis). One of the primary functions of many cytokines is to coordinate these processes. In particular, the interleukin (IL)-2 family of cytokines, which consists of six cytokines (IL-2, IL-4, IL-7, IL-9, IL-15 and IL-21) that all share a common receptor subunit (gammac), plays a major role in promoting and maintaining T lymphocyte populations. The details of the molecular signaling pathways mediated by these cytokines have not been fully elucidated. However, the three major pathways clearly involved include the JAK/STAT, MAPK and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (P13K) pathways. The details of these pathways as they apply to the IL-2 family of cytokines is discussed, with a focus on their roles in proliferation and survival signaling.