In this paper, taking advantage of the inclusion of a special module on material deprivation in EU-SILC 2009. we provide a comparative analysis of patterns of deprivation. Our analysis identifies six relatively distinct dimensions of deprivation with generally satisfactory overall levels of reliability and mean levels of reliability across countries. Multi-level analysis based on 28 European countries reveals systematic variation in the importance of within and between country variation for a range of deprivation dimensions. The basic deprivation dimension is the sole dimension to display a graduated pattern of variation across countries. It also reveals the highest correlations with national and household income, the remaining deprivation dimensions and economic stress. It comes closest to capturing an underlying dimension of generalized deprivation that can provide the basis for a comparative European analysis of exclusion from customary standards of living. A multilevel analysis revealed that a range of household characteristics and household reference person socio-economic factors were related to basic deprivation and controlling for contextual differences in such factors allowed us to account for substantial proportions of both within and between country variance. The addition of macro-economic factors relating to average levels of disposable income and income inequality contributed relatively little further in the way of explanatory power. Further analysis revealed the existence of a set of significant interactions between micro socioeconomic attributes and country level gross national disposable income per capita. The impact of socio-economic differentiation was significantly greater where average income levels were lower. Or, in other words, the impact of the latter was greater for more disadvantaged socio-economic groups. Our analysis supports the suggestion that an emphasis on the primary role of income inequality to the neglect of differences in absolute levels of income may be misleading in important respects. (C) 2012 International Sociological Association Research Committee 28 on Social Stratification and Mobility. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.