The aim of this review is to summarize recent research relating to the epidemiology of chondrocalcinosis (CC), including prevalence of CC, the association between CC and OA, familial forms of CC and diseases associated with CC. We searched MEDLINE for articles published in English from 1998 to 2008 using MEsH terms covering all aspects of the epidemiology of CC. Aging is the main risk factor for the occurrence of sporadic CC. Prevalence of CC varies from 7 to 10% in people aged approximately 60 years and shows equal sex distribution. There is a positive association between CC and OA, but CC does not appear to be a risk factor for subsequent structural progression in terms of cartilage loss. Mutations in the ankylosis human (ANKH) gene have been identified as a cause of familial CC in some kindreds. There is good evidence that hereditary haemochromatosis, hyperparathyroidism and hypomagnesaemia are metabolic disorders that predispose to secondary CC. In conclusion, sporadic CC is a common condition in the elderly and frequently associates with OA. Primary metabolic disorders or familial predisposition are uncommon but should be considered if CC occurs before 55 years of age or if there is florid polyarticular CC. After the age of 55 years, hyperparathyroidism should be considered in all patients.