Prevalence and incidence of MS in Canada and around the world

In September 2020, the MS International Federation released the Atlas of MS 3rd edition, Part 1: Mapping multiple sclerosis around the world – key epidemiology findings. The report outlines the prevalence and incidence of MS globally and how this varies across countries and demographics such as age and gender. The report collected data from 115 countries and covers 87% of the world’s population.


There are now 2.8 million people worldwide who have multiple sclerosis (MS). The number of people living with MS has increased in every region around the world since 2013. Several factors may be contributing to this increase such as improved diagnosis, better counting methods, people with MS living longer, and global population growth. However, from available data, an increase in the risk of developing MS cannot be ruled out.

Globally, females are at least twice as likely to be diagnosed with MS. While MS can occur at any age, the average age of diagnosis is 32 years. MS also occurs in children and teenagers, with an estimated 30,000 people under the age of 18 years living with MS around the world. 85% of people with MS are initially diagnosed with relapsing-remitting form of MS with 12% diagnosed with more progressive forms.


Canada continues to have one of the highest rates of MS in the world – with over 90,000 people living with MS - 1 in every 400 people. The Atlas of MS report provides updated information on people living with MS in Canada:

  • Over 90,000 Canadians living with MS – 1 in every 400
  • 4,377 people are diagnosed with MS each year - almost 12 people per day
  • Average age of diagnosis is 43 years
  • 75% of the people living with MS are women
  • 90% of people with MS are initially diagnosed with relapsing-remitting forms of MS, while 10% are diagnosed with progressive forms of MS.

Read the full report by clicking here (currently available in English, French to come). See Factsheet on Canada – here.