This study compares the social determinants of individual health between the United States, a capitalist society, and Poland, a 'post-communist' society. The effects of demographic factors, family characteristics and socioeconomic status on self-reported health are estimated with OLS regression using data from the 1994 American and Polish General Social Surveys. The results show lower self-reported health and more rapid declines in health for people over 60 in Poland than in the United States. Also, in Poland, women report worse health than do men while the opposite is found for the United States. The relationships between education, income and health were stronger in the United States than in Poland. Age, gender and SES may operate differently in the two countries because of a gap in social development (e.g. varying living standards and styles, health care systems and cultural attitudes) between the West and the former Eastern Europe.