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The recognition of eosinophilic oesophagitis (EoE) has risen sharply, but its current epidemiology is still under debate.To estimate accurately the prevalence and incidence rates of EoE, by a systematic review and meta-analysis.MEDLINE, EMBASE and SCOPUS databases were searched for population-based studies on the epidemiology of EoE. Pooled incidence and prevalence rates, male:female and children:adult ratios, and geographical and temporal variations were calculated with random-effects models.The search yielded 1334 references; the final quantitative summary included 13 population-based studies from North America, Europe and Australia, with the results showing high heterogeneity. The pooled EoE incidence rate was 3.7/100 000 persons/year [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.7–6.5] and was higher for adults (7; 95% CI: 1–18.3) than for children (5.1; 95% CI: 1.5–10.9).The pooled prevalence of EoE was 22.7 cases/100 000 inhabitants (95% CI: 12.4–36), rising to 28.1 (95% CI: 13–49) when studies with a lower risk of bias were considered; prevalence was higher in adults than in children (43.4; 95% CI: 22.5–71.2 vs. 29.5; 95% CI: 17.5–44.7, respectively), and in American compared to European studies.A steady rise in EoE incidence and prevalence rates was observed upon comparison of studies conducted before and after 2008. No significant publication bias was found.Eosinophilic oesophagitis is an increasingly common diagnosis in North America and Europe. The population-based incidence and prevalence of eosinophilic oesophagitis vary widely across individual studies, probably due to variations in diagnosis and risk of bias of research. More prospective, large-scale, multicenter studies are needed to evaluate reported data.