We used deep wide-field photometric observations to derive the fraction of binary systems in a sample of five high-latitude Galactic open clusters. By analysing the colour distribution of main-sequence stars, we derived the minimum fraction of binary systems required to reproduce the observed colour–magnitude diagram morphologies. We found that all the analysed clusters contain a minimum binary fraction larger than 11 per cent within the core radius. The estimated global fractions of binary systems range from 35 to 70 per cent depending on the cluster. The comparison with homogeneous estimates performed in globular clusters indicates that open clusters hold a significantly higher fraction of binary systems, as predicted by theoretical models and N-body simulations. A dependence of the relative fraction of binary systems on the cluster mass has been detected, suggesting that the binary disruption within the cluster core is the dominant process that drives the fraction of binaries in stellar systems.