Occupational deprivation is a relatively new term which describes a state in which people are precluded from opportunities to engage in occupations of meaning due to factors outside their control. As we face the new millennium, it seems likely that, due to widespread social and economic change as well as increasing civil unrest, occupational deprivation will be experienced by increasing numbers of people globally. This article describes the conceptual origins of occupational deprivation, presents definitions of the term and discusses specific populations that may be vulnerable to being occupationally deprived. Global, contextual issues of economic reform and technological advances are addressed with specific reference to these populations. Finally, consideration is given as to how an understanding of occupational deprivation is of relevance to occupational therapy and its concern with social and occupational justice.