Study objective: The objectives of the study were to establish the prevalence and incidence of multiple sclerosis in Glasgow and to assess the epidemiological importance of deprivation and ethnicity. Design: The study was a descriptive cross-sectional study. Multiple sources of ascertainment were used to identify cases. Setting and patients: The study was carried out in the population of three Local Health Care Cooperatives (LHCCs) in the area of Greater Glasgow NHS Board. The total population was approximately 169,000. Main results: In total, 245 patients with multiple sclerosis were identified. The mean age of patients was 49.8 years, the female to male ratio was 3.2:1 and the mean duration of disease was 16 years. The overall prevalence was 14.5 per 10,000, and the overall incidence 5.7 per 100,000 per year. Both the prevalence and incidence of multiple sclerosis were higher in the more affluent population. The crude prevalence in the Asian population was 6.3 per 10,000. Conclusions: The epidemiology of multiple sclerosis in Glasgow was similar, in most respects, to the epidemiology described in other parts of the U.K. There was evidence for the importance of deprivation as a determinant of both incidence and prevalence of disease. The reasons for the higher incidence and prevalence of multiple sclerosis in less deprived populations are not clear. © 2004 Scottish Medical Journal.