In this paper we introduce a goal programming formulation for the multi-group classification problem. Although a great number of mathematical programming models for two-group classification problems have been proposed in the literature, there are few mathematical programming models for multi-group classification problems. Newly proposed multi-group mathematical programming model is compared with other conventional multi-group methods by using different real data sets taken from the literature and simulation data. A comparative analysis on the real data sets and simulation data shows that our goal programming formulation may suggest efficient alternative to traditional statistical methods and mathematical programming formulations for the multi-group classification problem. ;Crown Copyright (C) 2010 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.