British research on the quality of life in old age has neglected the increasing ethnic diversity of the older population, and although studies of health and income inequalities have highlighted the contribution played by racism, analyses of the factors influencing the quality of life have rarely considered its effects. This paper discusses inequalities in quality of life among older people from different ethnic groups using data from a cross-sectional survey of 203 White British, Asian, Black Caribbean, Black African and Chinese people aged 55 and more years living in England and Scotland. They were interviewed face-to-face in the language of their choice using a semi-structured schedule. Consistent with the existing literature, the study found differences in health, income and social support among the ethnic groups. The paper suggests, however, that future work should examine disparities in health and income within as well as between minority ethnic groups, and that a greater appreciation is required of the way in which such disparities may be accentuated by variations in health expectations, in the distribution of income within households, and in the willingness to discuss financial difficulties. The cumulative effects of health and material disadvantage and the experience of racism have implications both for future quality of life research and for government policies that aim to raise social inclusion and reduce inequalities.