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20 people are forcibly displaced every minute

44,400 people are forced to leave their homes every day because of conflict and persecution. Current data from UNHCR indicates that there are more than 68.5 million forcibly displaced people worldwide. 40 million are internally displaced, 25.4 million are refugees, and 3.1 are asylum seekers. The majority of refugees are fleeing from South Sudan, Afghanistan, and Syria.


Figures at a glance

2017 data obtained from UNHCR

  • Developing regions hosted 85 percent of the world’s refugees under UNHCR’s mandate, about 16.9 million people. The least developed countries provided asylum to a growing proportion, amounting to one-third of the global total (6.7 million refugees).
  • Lebanon continued to host the largest number of refugees relative to its national population, where 1 in 6 people was a refugee under the responsibility of UNHCR. Jordan (1 in 14) and Turkey (1 in 23) ranked second and third, respectively.
    When Palestine refugees under UNRWA’s mandate are included, the figures rise to 1 in 4 for Lebanon and 1 in 3 for Jordan.
  • During 2017, nearly 5 million displaced people returned to their areas or countries of origin, comprising 4.2 million internally displaced people and 667,400 refugees. Returns have not kept pace with the rate of new displacements.
  • Asylum-seekers submitted 1.7 million new asylum claims. With 331,700 such claims, the United States of America
    was the world’s largest recipient of new individual applications, followed by Germany (198,300), Italy (126,500),
    and Turkey (126,100).
  • 173,800 Unaccompanied AND separated Children. This conservative estimate takes into account new applications, asylum seekers and refugees. It includes 45,500 unaccompanied and separated children who sought asylum on an individual basis in 2017 as reported by 67 countries and 138,700 unaccompanied and separated child refugees and asylum-seekers as reported by 63 UNHCR operations, with reductions to avoid possible double-counting.


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Impact of policy changes

The White House set the ceiling for the number of refugees to be admitted to the U.S. to a record low of 30,000 (PY2019). This is 15,000 lower than the 45,000 ceiling (PY2018) and 110,000 ceiling (PY2017). Actual resettlement numbers for PY2018 were 22,000, indicating that the 30,000 ceiling will likely not be met again this year. There remains special restrictions and heightened security screenings for refugees from Syria, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Venezuela, and North Korea.