Parental values concerning -the importance of particular qualities and skills in their children vary with both social class (or socioeconomic status) and ethnic background. The aim of this study was to investigate the extent to which differences in values between parents of Anglo-Australian and Italian background in Australia are attributable to differences between the groups in socioeconomic status. The extent of the significant differences between the two groups of parents varied across areas and was differentially reduced when several indicators of socioeconomic status were taken into account. In content areas concerned with conformity (for example, neatness and obedience), the highly significant ethnic background effect virtually disappeared when mother's and father's educational levels (but not father's occupation) were taken into account. In other content areas, however, the significance of ethnic background was unaffected. These findings highlight the importance of disentangling the two sets of effects and the variability of these effects across content areas and across different measures of socioeconomic status.