Background. It has been observed that African American race is associated with a lower prevalence of atrial fibrillation (AF) compared to Caucasian race. To better quantify the association between African American race and AF, we performed a meta-analysis of published studies among different patient populations which reported the presence of AF by race. Methods. A literature search was conducted using electronic databases between January 1999 and January 2011. The search was limited to published studies in English conducted in the United States, which clearly defined the presence of AF in African American and Caucasian subjects. A meta-analysis was performed with prevalence of AF as the primary endpoint. Results. In total, 10 studies involving 1,031,351 subjects were included. According to a random effects analysis, African American race was associated with a protective effect with regard to AF as compared to Caucasian race (odds ratio 0.51, 95% CI 0.44 to 0.59, P<0.001). In subgroup analyses, African American race was significantly associated with a lower prevalence of AF in the general population, those hospitalized or greater than 60 years old, postcoronary artery bypass surgery patients, and subjects with heart failure. Conclusions. In a broad sweep of subjects in the general population and hospitalized patients, the prevalence of AF in African Americans is consistently lower than in Caucasians. © 2012 Marlow B. Hernandez et al.