The tournament started in 1977 and was held once every three years until 1983. However, the IBF (International Badminton Federation) faced difficulty in hosting the first two events as the World Badminton Federation (which later merged with the IBF to form one badminton federation) hosted the same tournament a year after the IBF World Championships with the same goals. Started 1985, the tournament became biennial and played once every two years until 2005. Starting 2006, the tournament was changed to an annual event on the BWF calendar with the goal to give more chances for the players to be crowned as official "World Champions". However, the tournament does not hold during the Summer Olympics years.
The table below gives an overview of all host cities and countries of the World Championships. The most recent games were held in Basel. The number in parentheses following the city/country denotes how many times that city/country has hosted the championships. From 1989 to 2001 the world championships were held immediately after the Sudirman Cup at the same location.
So far, only 20 countries have achieved at least a bronze medal in the tournament: Ten in Asia, Eight in Europe, one in North America, and one in Oceania. Africa is the only confederation that has not won a medal.
Zhao Yunlei, 2014 & 2015, women's doubles and mixed doubles
From 1977 up to 2001, the medals were usually divided among five countries, namely China, Korea, Denmark, Indonesia, Malaysia. However, in 2003, the winners included seven countries and in 2005 the medal board contained a record high of ten countries.
Tony Gunawan also bears the distinction of winning a gold medal in Men's Doubles, representing two countries, 2001 partnering with Halim Haryanto for Indonesia and in 2005 partnering with Howard Bach to give the United States its first medal in the competition.
Below is the gold medalists shown based by category and countries after the 2019 Championships. China has been the most successful in the World Championships ever since its inception in 1977. They were the only country ever to achieve a shutout of the medals which they did in 1987, 2010 and 2011.