The aim of this study was to determine whether the rs7574865 polymorphism of STAT4 (signal transducers and activators of transcription 4) confers susceptibility to rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in populations with different ethnicities. A meta-analysis was conducted on the T allele of the STAT4 rs7574865 polymorphism in 15 studies containing 16,088 RA patients and 16,509 normal control subjects. Meta-analysis revealed an association between RA and the STAT4 rs7574865 T allele in all subjects (OR = 1.271, 95% CI = 1.197-1.350, P < 0.001). Furthermore, the STAT4 rs7574865 T allele was found to be significantly associated with RA in Europeans and Asians (OR = 1.300, 95% CI = 1.195-1.414, P < 0.001; OR = 1.216, 95% CI = 1.135-1.303, P < 0.001). Stratification of RA patients according to the presence of anti-CCP antibody revealed a statistically significant association between the T allele and RA in both anti-CCP-positive and -negative RA patients versus controls. Europeans had the lowest (21.4%) and Asians had the highest (32.0%) prevalence of the T allele among the populations studied. In conclusion, this meta-analysis confirms that the STAT4 rs7574865 polymorphism is associated with RA susceptibility in different ethnic groups, and that its prevalence is ethnicity dependent.