Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a major risk factor for end-stage renal disease, cardiovascular disease, and premature death. Here we estimated the global prevalence and absolute burden of CKD in 2010 by pooling data from population-based studies. We searched MEDLINE (January 1990 to December 2014), International Society of Nephrology Global Outreach Program-funded projects, and bibliographies of retrieved articles and selected 33 studies reporting gender- and age-specific prevalence of CKD in representative population samples. The age-standardized global prevalence of CKD stages 1-5 in adults aged 20 and older was 10.4% in men (95% confidence interval 9.3-11.9%) and 11.8% in women (11.2-12.6%). This consisted of 8.6% in men (7.3-9.8%) and 9.6% in women (7.7-11.1%) in high-income countries, and 10.6% in men (9.4-13.1%) and 12.5% in women (11.8-14.0%) in low- and middle-income countries. The total number of adults with CKD was 225.7 million (205.7-257.4 million) men and 271.8 million (258.0-293.7 million) women. This consisted of 48.3 million (42.3-53.3 million) men and 61.7 million (50.4-69.9 million) women in high-income countries, and 177.4 million (159.2-215.9 million) men and 210.1 million (200.8-231.7 million) women in low- and middle-income countries. Thus, CKD is an important global-health challenge, especially in low- and middle-income countries. National and international efforts for prevention, detection, and treatment of CKD are needed to reduce its morbidity and mortality worldwide.