Who Gets MS


Find out how common MS is and who may be more likely to get it

There are many ideas about who is likely to get multiple sclerosis (MS). The disease is not contagious or directly inherited, but scientists have identified factors that may be associated with risk for MS. These include gender, genetics, age, geography, and ethnic background. 

In the United States, about 400,000 people suffer from MS

Worldwide, it’s estimated that more than 2.3 million people have MS

MS occurs in different ethnic groups. This includes African Americans, Asian Americans, and Hispanics. However, the most common ethnic group affected by MS is white people with Northern European ancestry. Certain areas have a higher concentration of people with MS. This may mean:

  • The region has a lot of people with similar genetics. These people could share genes that make them more likely to get MS
  • Conditions in the area could be the cause. For instance, MS is more common in colder regions further from the equator
  • It could be a combination of genetics and location 

Genetic risk factors

If you’re living with MS, it’s clear you’re not alone. The world is filled with people who have already crossed the same hurdles as you. Learn how support groups can help you talk about your MS and meet others in a similar situation.

Connect with the Peer Community, and get one-on-one support for your MS.