BACKGROUND Esophageal cancer is a common cancer worldwide. We performed the present study to assess the homogeneous and heterogeneous risk and prognostic factors of bone metastasis (BM) in esophageal cancer patients using data extracted from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database. MATERIAL AND METHODS Data from patients with esophageal cancer in the SEER database from 2010 to 2016 were extracted to reveal the risk factors for BM through univariable and multivariable logistic regression. Cox hazard regression analysis was used to evaluate the prognostic factors in esophageal cancer patients with BM from 2010 to 2015. RESULTS A total of 2075 (8.0%) patients with initial bone metastasis were diagnosed from among 25 955 patients with esophageal cancer from 2010 to 2016. Male sex, T4 stage, brain metastasis, and liver metastasis were common risk factors for the occurrence and prognosis of BM. Patients with age younger than 67 years, grade III, higher N stage (N1, N2, and N3), histological subtype of esophageal adenocarcinoma or others, and lung metastasis were also more likely to experience bone metastasis, while unmarried patients were associated with shorter survival. CONCLUSIONS The prevalence of initial bone metastasis was approximately 8.0% in esophageal cancer patients. More attention should be paid to patients with revealed risk and prognostic factors because these factors can guide individualize bone metastasis screening and treatment of esophageal cancer patients.