Aims: Voluntary admission rates of schizophrenia vary widely across studies. In order to make the topic be informed by evidence, it is important to have accurate estimates. This meta-analysis examined the worldwide prevalence of voluntary admissions for patients with schizophrenia. Method: PubMed, EMBASE, PsycINFO, the Cochrane Library, Web of Science and Medline databases were systematically searched, from their commencement date until 19th November 2018. Meta-analysis of included studies was performed using the random-effects model. Results: Thirty-five studies with 134,100 schizophrenia patients were included. The overall voluntary admission rate of schizophrenia was 61.9 % (95 %CI: 52.3 %–70.7 %), while the involuntary rate was 43.0 % (95 %CI: 34.8 %–51.7 %). Subgroup analyses revealed that patients in Europe had significantly higher voluntary admission rates, while their North American counterparts were more likely admitted involuntarily. Papers published prior to 2008 reported higher involuntary admission rates. Meta-regression analyses showed that higher male percentage and higher study quality were significantly associated with higher voluntary admission rate. Conclusion: Although the worldwide prevalence of voluntary admissions was higher than that of involuntary admissions, the latter was common for schizophrenia. With the continuing liberalization of mental health laws broadening community-based psychiatric services, the rate of voluntary psychiatric admissions is expected to further increase over time.