Background and objective Stroke is a major contributor to the global burden of disease. Although numerous modifiable risk factors (RF) for stroke have been identified, some remain unexplained. Increasing studies have investigated stroke risk in arthritis, but their results are inconsistent. We aimed to synthesize, quantify, and compare the risk of stroke for the major types of arthritis in cohort studies by using a systematic review and meta-analysis approach. Methods We searched Chinese and English databases to identify relevant studies from inception to April 30, 2020. Only studies adjusting at least for age and sex were included. We calculated pooled effect estimates for relative risk (RR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) and identified potential sources of heterogeneity and publication bias. Results A total of 1,348 articles were retrieved, and after an preliminary screening of titles and abstracts, 69 were reviewed for full text, and finally, 32 met the criteria for meta-analysis. Stroke risk in arthritis was significantly increased in studies adjusting for age and sex (RR = 1.36, 95% CI: 1.27-1.46) and for at least one traditional risk factor (RR = 1.40, 95% CI: 1.28-1.54). The results of studies stratified by stroke subtype were consistent with the main finding (ischemic stroke: RR = 1.53, 95% CI: 1.32-1.78; hemorrhagic stroke: RR = 1.45, 95% CI: 1.15-1.84). In subgroup analysis by arthritis type, stroke risk was significantly increased in rheumatoid arthritis (RR = 1.38, 95% CI: 1.29-1.48), ankylosing spondylitis (RR = 1.49, 95% CI: 1.25-1.77), psoriatic arthritis (RR = 1.33, 95% CI: 1.22-1.45), and gout (RR = 1.40, 95% CI: 1.13-1.73) but not osteoarthritis (RR = 1.03, 95% CI: 0.91-1.16). Age and sex subgroup analyses indicated that stroke risk was similar by sex (women: RR = 1.47, 95% CI: 1.31-1.66; men: RR = 1.44, 95% CI: 1.28-1.61); risk was higher with younger age ( Conclusions Stroke risk was increased in multiple arthritis and similar between ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke. Young patients with arthritis had the highest risk.