Refugees Around the World

Every two seconds, one person is forcibly displaced from their home. Over the course of a minute, this equates to thirty people being forced to leave their homes due to persecution or conflict. This World Refugee Day, we show you these alarming statistics to help raise awareness for an ongoing crisis.





How many refugees and forcibly displaced persons are there in the world?

According to the United Nations, 70.8 million people were forced from their homes in 2018, including 25.9 million refugees. Of those nearly 30 million refugees, over half were children 18 or younger. Additionally, there were 3.5 million people seeking asylum. It is estimated that 1 out of every 108 people globally is an asylum-seeker, internally displaced, or a refugee.


Why do displaced persons leave their homes?

Displaced persons may leave their homes for many reasons, but some of the most common are to escape persecution, conflict, or natural disasters. Persecution can be based on factors such as race, religion, nationality, or political beliefs. Seeking refuge in other countries or different parts of one’s own country due to natural disasters, such as floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, and mudslides is becoming more common. As climate change advances, drought, desertification, rising sea levels, and soil degradation intensify, causing people to seek refuge elsewhere. However, natural disasters and climate change aren’t considered enough to sustain a refugee claim at this time, which has prompted discussions over this set of circumstances.


Where do refugees come from?

Two-thirds of refugees come from five countries: Syria (6.7 million), Afghanistan (2.7 million), South Sudan (2.3 million), Myanmar (1.1 million), and Somalia (0.9 million). Other countries include Palestine, Iraq, Central African Republic, Ukraine, and Yemen.


Where do refugees go?

80% of refugees and displaced persons live in neighboring countries. These countries include Turkey, Pakistan, Sudan, Lebanon, Uganda, and Jordan. 16% of refugees were hosted in developed regions, whereas one third of refugees live in one of the Least Developed Countries, as classified by the United Nations.


To learn more about World Refugee Day, click here. Make sure to check in with us this week as we continue our countdown to World Refugee Day 2020.




Angelica, et al. “Global Trends - Forced Displacement in 2018 - UNHCR.” UNHCR Global Trends 2018, www.unhcr.org/globaltrends2018/.


“Refugees.” United Nations, United Nations, www.un.org/en/sections/issues-depth/refugees/.


“Refugee Statistics.” USA for UNHCR, www.unrefugees.org/refugee-facts/statistics/.

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