In French Health Examination Centres, populations in deprived situation were usually defined by administrative criteria The aim of the study was to investigate whether EPICES, a new individual index of deprivation, was more strongly related to health status than an administrative classification. The EPICES score was calculated on the basis of 11 weighted questions related to material and social deprivation. Participants were 197, 389 men and women, aged over 18, encountered in 2002 in French Health Examination Centres. Relationships between health status, health-related behaviours, access to health care, EPICES and the administrative classification of deprivation were analyzed by logistic regression. The associations between EPICES and the study variables were stronger than those observed for the administrative definition. The comparison also showed socially disadvantaged people with poor health identified by the EPICES score who were not by the administrative classification. These results showed that the EPICES score can be a useful tool to improve the identification of deprived people having health problems associated to deprivation.