An understanding of the epidemiology of poststroke dementia (PSD) is necessary to inform research, practice and policy. With increasing primary studies, a contemporary review of PSD could allow for analyses of incidence and prevalence trends. Databases were searched using a prespecified search strategy. Eligible studies described an ischaemic or mixed stroke cohort with prospective clinical assessment for dementia. Pooled prevalence of dementia was calculated using random-effects models at any time after stroke (primary outcome) and at 1 year (range: 6–18 months), stratified for inclusion of prestroke dementia. Meta-regression explored the effect of year of study. Sensitivity analyses removed low-quality or outlier studies. Of 12 505 titles assessed, 44 studies were included in the quantitative analyses. At any time point after stroke, the prevalence of PSD was 16.5% (95% CI 10.4% to 25.1%) excluding prestroke dementia and 22.3% (95% CI 18.8% to 26.2%) including prestroke dementia. At 1 year, the prevalence of PSD was 18.4% (95% CI 7.4% to 38.7%) and 20.4% (95% CI 14.2% to 28.2%) with prestroke dementia included. In studies including prestroke dementia there was a negative association between dementia prevalence and year of study (slope coefficient=–0.05 (SD: 0.01), p<0.0001). Estimates were robust to sensitivity analyses. Dementia is common following stroke. At any point following stroke, more than one in five people will have dementia, although a proportion of this dementia predates the stroke. Declining prevalence of prestroke dementia may explain apparent reduction in PSD over time. Risk of dementia following stroke remains substantial and front-loaded, with high prevalence at 1 year post event.