The risk of Alzheimer disease (AD) increases with age, family history and informative genetic variants. Sadly, there is still no cure or means of prevention. As in other complex diseases, uncovering genetic causes of AD could identify underlying pathological mechanisms and lead to potential treatments. Rare, autosomal dominant forms of AD occur in middle age as a result of highly penetrant genetic mutations, but the most common form of AD occurs later in life. Large-scale, genome-wide analyses indicate that 70 or more genes or loci contribute to AD. One of the major factors limiting progress is that most genetic data have been obtained from non-Hispanic white individuals in Europe and North America, preventing the development of personalized approaches to AD in individuals of other ethnicities. Fortunately, emerging genetic data from other regions – including Africa, Asia, India and South America – are now providing information on the disease from a broader range of ethnicities. Here, we summarize the current knowledge on AD genetics in populations across the world. We predominantly focus on replicated genetic discoveries but also include studies in ethnic groups where replication might not be feasible. We attempt to identify gaps that need to be addressed to achieve a complete picture of the genetic and molecular factors that drive AD in individuals across the globe.