OBJECTIVE:To assess differences in cheese and milk consumption across socioeconomic groups in representative samples from several European countries. DESIGN:A meta-analysis of published and unpublished surveys of food habits performed in nine European countries between 1985 and 1999. Educational and occupational levels were used as indicators of socio-economic status. RESULTS:A higher socioeconomic status was associated with a greater consumption of cheese. The pooled estimate of the difference in cheese consumption between women in the highest vs the lowest educational level was 9.0 g/day (95% CI: 7.1 to 11.0). The parallel observation in men was 6.8 g/day (95% CI: 3.4 to 10.1). Similar results were obtained using occupation as an indicator of socioeconomic status. The pooled estimates of the higher cheese consumption among subjects belonging to the highest (vs the lowest) occupational level were 5.1 g/day (95% CI: 3.7 to 6.5) in women and 4.6 g/day (95% CI: 2.1 to 7.0) in men. No statistically significant associations were found for milk consumption concerning educational or occupational level. CONCLUSIONS:Our findings suggest that consumption of cheese is likely to be higher among subjects belonging to higher socioeconomic levels. We did not find enough evidence to support that milk intake is different according to educational or social levels.