Multiple sclerosis : Key figures and prevalence

Worldwide it is estimated that 2.5 million people live with diagnosed MS and the UK houses around 100.000 of them. MS can take very long to discover and shares symptoms with many other diseases, therefore the number of people living with MS may be higher than estimated.


The worldwide prevalence of MS is the absolute lowest around the equator and prevalence increases the further away from the equator you get. Canada, for instance, has a very high prevalence.

MS usually develops in people between 20-40 years, but it can be developed at all ages. The cause of MS has still not been found and it is also unknown why it develops in women three times more often than in men.

MS in the UK

In the UK, the highest prevalence is found in Scotland, developing in 190 people per every 100.000. England and Wales holds the lowest prevalence of between 100-140 people and Northern Ireland lands right in between with a prevalence of 170 people.

Domestically in Scotland numbers are as high as up to 402 per 100.000, measured in Orkney and 295 measured in Shetland.


Last updated: 25/04/2018

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