Abstract Background The association between BIN1 rs744373 variant and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) had been identified by genome-wide association studies (GWASs) as well as candidate gene studies in Caucasian populations. But in East Asian populations, both positive and negative results had been identified by association studies. Considering the smaller sample sizes of the studies in East Asian, we believe that the results did not have enough statistical power. Results We conducted a meta-analysis with 71,168 samples (22,395 AD cases and 48,773 controls, from 37 studies of 19 articles). Based on the additive model, we observed significant genetic heterogeneities in pooled populations as well as Caucasians and East Asians. We identified a significant association between rs744373 polymorphism with AD in pooled populations (P = 5 × 10− 07, odds ratio (OR) = 1.12, and 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.07–1.17) and in Caucasian populations (P = 3.38 × 10− 08, OR = 1.16, 95% CI 1.10–1.22). But in the East Asian populations, the association was not identified (P = 0.393, OR = 1.057, and 95% CI 0.95–1.15). Besides, the regression analysis suggested no significant publication bias. The results for sensitivity analysis as well as meta-analysis under the dominant model and recessive model remained consistent, which demonstrated the reliability of our finding. Conclusions The large-scale meta-analysis highlighted the significant association between rs744373 polymorphism and AD risk in Caucasian populations but not in the East Asian populations.