Refugee Statistics

Find the latest data and statistics on global displacement. 

Photo: © UNHCR/Sylvain Cherkaoui

An unprecedented 100 million people around the world have been forced to flee their homes. Among them are 27.1 million refugees, around 41 per cent of whom are under the age of 18. There are also millions of stateless people who have been denied a nationality and lack access to basic rights such as education, healthcare, employment and freedom of movement. At a time when one per cent of the world’s population have fled their homes as a result of conflict or persecution, our work at UNHCR is more important than ever before.

 

Global Trends at a glance

Every year, UNHCR publishes the Global Trends report on forced displacement. We count and track the numbers of refugees, internally displaced persons, people who have returned to their countries or areas of origin, asylum-seekers, stateless people and other populations of concern. This process is extremely important in order to meet the needs of refugees and other displaced persons around the world and it helps organizations and States to plan their humanitarian responses.

Key facts and figures

  • 100 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of conflict, persecution, human rights violations and violence. Now, humanity is witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record.
  • Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, South Sudan and Myanmar account for two-thirds of people displaced across borders.
  • 42 per cent of forcibly displaced persons are children under the age of 18.

Facts and figures by country/region

Canada

In 2019, Canada once again came out as the world leader in the resettlement of refugees, ranking first among 26 countries. Last year, Canada provided 30,082 refugees with the opportunity to build a new life for themselves and their families, including through its private sponsorship program which accounted for 58 per cent over the past ten years. Read more about refugees in Canada.

Somali refugee Iqra Ali Gaal attends ESL classes as part of the Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada program (LINC) at College Boreal in Hamilton, Ontario.

Central African Republic

The Central African Republic remains one of the world’s poorest countries. Since May 2017, fresh clashes between armed groups has brought suffering, deaths and destruction. More than 792,000 refugees from CAR were living in neighbouring Chad, Cameroon, the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In addition to refugees, about 684,000 people are internally displaced.

Central America

In the past five years, the crisis in the North of Central America (NCA) has worsened. The number of refugees and asylum-seekers has soared due to crime and violence fuelled by drug cartels, gangs, fragile institutions and increasing inequality. Human rights violations and political persecution in Nicaragua has also been driving large-scale displacement as well. As of the end of 2021, there were around 600,000 refugees and asylum-seekers from the North of Central America worldwide. In 2021 Mexico received over 131,000 new asylum applications. It is estimated that in 2021 approximately 320,000 people were internally displaced in El Salvador and Honduras, although the actual number could be higher.

Locals sit in a rickshaw in the La Era neighbourhood of the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa. ; An estimated 174,000 Hondurans have been displaced by territorial violence from gangs, known as “maras”, in the decade between 2005 and 2015, according to a report from the Honduran government. The country had the highest homicide rate in the world in 2014 and families continue to abandon their homes in search of safer environments in the United States, Mexico and neighbouring Central American countries like Belize. In communities in cities like San Pedro Sula in the north, residents tell stories of relatives whose houses have been burned down, young boys being recruited into gangs and young girls too afraid to attend school because of the unwanted attentions of “mareros” (gang members). The UN Refugee Agency chief in Honduras, Andrés Celis, says mechanisms for people seeking protection from the government must be improved so that the state can respond more effectively to displaced people’s needs for shelter and relocation.

Ali lying on his bed

Iraq

Acts of violence, mass executions and sexual assault are widespread in Iraq, forcing millions of Iraqis to abandon their homes. After decades of conflict and violence, human rights and rule of law are under attack. By the end of 2021, there were a total of 1.2 million internally displaced persons, and the number of returnees increased to nearly 5 million people. 

Libya

There 884,565 people of concern in Libya. This includes around 168,011 internally displaced persons. In Libya, unsafe conditions and reduced access to health care, food, water, shelter or education has left hundreds of thousands suffering. Libya hosts over 43,000 refugees and asylum seekers who are registered with UNHCR, many of whom are travelling through dangerous routes trying to reach Europe. Almost 90 percent of those crossing the Mediterranean Sea to Europe are leaving from Libya. ​

Rohingya crisis

In 2017, Rohingya refugees fled Myanmar at an incredible rate, and the numbers only continue to grow. At the peak of the crisis, thousands crossed into Bangladesh daily, many walking for days through jungles and mountains. They arrived hungry and sick and in need of protection and assistance. There are 929,606 Rohingya individuals living in Bangladesh, as of June 2022. 

South Sudan

Since the winter of 2013, conflict in South Sudan has driven over four million people from their homes. While some remain in the country, more than two million have fled to bordering countries desperate to reach safety. There are over two million refugees and asylum seekers from South Sudan in the general region.

Syria

Syria continues to be one of the biggest displacement crises of our time. Millions of Syrians have fled across borders and millions more are displaced inside the country as the war continues. More than 5.7 million people have fled Syria and 13.4 million people have required some form of humanitarian and protection assistance inside Syria – more than half of the Syrian population. Many Syrian refugees reside in neighbouring countries such as Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. In Lebanon, more than a million Syrian refugees struggle with little to no resources – around 70 percent live below the poverty line. In Jordan, over 650,000 people are trapped with an estimated 93 per cent of refugees living below the poverty line. 

Venezuela

Venezuelans continue to have to leave their country because of insecurity, threats, violence, lack of food, insufficient medicine and more. As of June 2022, 6.1 million Venezuelans had fled – the largest exodus in the region’s recent history. More than 900,000 Venezuelans have had to seek asylum in the past three years. The ongoing human rights, socio-economic developments and political issues in Venezuela have resulted in a growing number of people leaving for neighbouring countries and parts of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Yemen

Yemen has been called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Millions have fled their homes to escape devastating conflict. Millions are facing terrible conditions and they struggle for safety, shelter and aid. More than 23.4 million people are in need in Yemen with 4.3 million people internally displaced – 80 per cent depend on humanitarian aid for the survival.

Education

Our fifth annual report on education, ‘Coming Together for Refugee Education’, was released in September 2020. The 2019 data in the report is based on reporting from twelve countries hosting more than half of the world’s refugee children.

  • At primary level, gross enrolment of refugee children in school stands at 77 per cent.
  • The contrast between primary and secondary level enrolment remains stark. Less than half of refugee children who start primary school make it to secondary level. 
  • Only three per cent of refugee children will go on to participate in higher education.
  • For refugee girls, the threat is particularly grave. Refugee girls already have less access to education than boys and are half as likely to be enrolled in school by the time they reach secondary level.
  • UNESCO estimates that – if all girls completed primary school – child marriage rates would fall by 14 per cent. And if all refugee girls finished secondary education, the rate would plummet by 64 per cent. The research shows that each additional year of school can increase a girl’s earnings by up to 20 per cent.

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