Summary Children with epilepsy often grow into adults with significant social problems including decreased employment, marriage, social relationships, and independent living arrangements. These problems are noted in population-based longitudinal and cross-sectional studies from many countries. Learning disorder and mental handicap are the most consistent predictors of poor social outcome. Epilepsy variables, even remission, appear to have little effect. The influence of epilepsy on social outcome is greater than found in other childhood chronic disease control groups. More attention and research is needed to correct these unfortunate outcomes.