This paper describes the prevalence of arthritis in Canadians by ethnic origin, including Asians, Europeans/Australians, and North American-born Canadians. Data for this study were derived from the 1994 Canadian National Population Health Survey, a cross-sectional survey with a sample of 39,240 persons aged 20 years and older. Arthritis was defined as a long-term health condition of "arthritis or rheumatism" diagnosed by a health professional. Place of birth was determined according to self-reported country of birth. Unconditional multiple logistic regression models were used to adjust for potential confounding effects. The crude prevalence of self-reported arthritis and rheumatism diagnosed by a health professional as a long-term condition for those aged 20 years and older in Canada was 14.2%. The age-sex adjusted prevalence by place of birth was 6.9% in Asians, 14.2% in Europeans/Australians, and 14.5% in North American-born Canadians. In the multivariate analyses using North America-born Canadians as baseline, the risk for arthritis (odds ratio = 0.56) was significantly lower in Asian-born Canadians after adjustment for age, sex, education, income, occupation, and body mass index.