The choice of income-related health inequality measures in comparative studies is often determined by custom and analytical concerns, without much explicit consideration of the vertical equity judgements underlying alternative measures. This note employs an inequality map to illustrate how these judgements determine the ranking of populations by health inequality. In particular, it is shown that relative indices of inequality in health attainments and shortfalls embody distinct vertical equity judgments, where each may represent ethically defensible positions in specific contexts. Further research is needed to explore people's preferences over distributions of income and health. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.