Since initial reports in the mid-1970s provided epidemiology data on primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), many studies have characterized the variable frequency of this disease in diverse populations worldwide and sought to identify associated risk factors. Recent research confirms earlier work suggesting that the incidence and prevalence of PBC are on the rise, although geographic variation persists. Analysis of familial and geographic clustering supports the hypothesis that development and progression of the disease hinge on a complex interplay between genetic and environmental risk factors. International clinical data systems are needed to advance PBC epidemiologic research. Given this complexity, international clinical data systems are needed to advance PBC epidemiologic research.