One hundred and twenty children first diagnosed as having acute leukemia between 1988 and 1992 in Athens, Greece, were followed until May 15, 1993. The socioeconomic status of the children's families was assessed by means of paternal occupation, paternal schooling, maternal schooling, ownership of a car, ability to choose a private medical facility and freedom in the choice of the attending physician. The analysis was done by proportional-hazards modelling, controlling for age and gender. All six socioeconomic indicators, alternatively evaluated, showed that fatality rates were higher in the lower socioeconomic groups, although nominal statistical significance was reached for only one of them. With respect to family ownership of a private car, the fatality rate ratio between children of families who own a car and children of families who do not was 0.29 with a 95% confidence interval of 0.13-0.62 (p = 0.002). These results suggest that in Greece, socially disadvantaged children have a less favorable survival from childhood leukemia.