Analytical and computational methods are developed for contact mechanics analysis of functionally graded materials (FGMs) that possess elastic gradation in the lateral direction. In the analytical formulation, the problem of a laterally graded half-plane in sliding frictional contact with a rigid punch of an arbitrary profile is considered. The governing partial differential equations and the boundary conditions of the problem are satisfied through the use of Fourier transformation. The problem is then reduced to a singular integral equation of the second kind which is solved numerically by using an expansion-collocation technique. Computational studies of the sliding contact problems of laterally graded materials are conducted by means of the finite element method. In the finite element analyses, the laterally graded half-plane is discretized by quadratic finite elements for which the material parameters are specified at the centroids. Flat and triangular punch profiles are considered in the parametric analyses. The comparisons of the results generated by the analytical technique to those computed by the finite element method demonstrate the high level of accuracy attained by both methods. The presented numerical results illustrate the influences of the lateral nonhomogeneity and the coefficient of friction on the contact stresses. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.