The World’s Refugees, By the Numbers
Which countries produce the most refugees?
Everyone knows America is a nation of immigrants. But less attention is paid to the fact that we’re also a nation of refugees. In fact, the United States has admitted 3.7 million refugees since 1980.i
The United Nations defines a refugee as a person who has fled their country and is unwilling or unable to return for fear of religious, ethnic, or other persecution.ii
There are around 27 million refugees in the world right now — a number that doesn’t include the 80,000 Afghans evacuated to the U.S. last summer nor the 6.5 million people fleeing Ukraine.
The top 5 countries of origin for recent refugees coming to the U.S.?
#5: Ukraine (7% of refugees)
#4: Burma (7.5% of refugees)
#3: Sudan (8.5% of refugees)
#2: Syria (23% of refugees)
#1: Democratic Republic of the Congo (25% of refugees)
The Afghans who recently evacuated to the U.S. aren’t classified as refugees because most don’t have permanent status.
America’s current policy is to admit 125,000 refugees a yeariii … but in the first three quarters of fiscal year 2022, it brought in only a little over 15,000. Government officials blame a lack of adequate staffing for the shortfalliv … which might explain why it takes an average of 18-24 months for refugees to get through the screening process to come to the U.S.v
One thing that’s definitely not causing the shortfall: a lack of demand. The U.N. estimates that more than 2 million refugees will be looking for a new country to call home by 2023.vi
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- There are around 27 million refugees in the world right now.
- The United States has admitted 3.7 million refugees since 1980, and currently aims to bring in an additional 125,000 per year.
- Nearly half of refugees coming to the U.S. come from two countries: Syria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
- "US Refugee Admissions Q1 - Q3 Fiscal Year 2022" - Refugee Council USA
- "Responding to Refugee Crises" – The Policy Circle
- "US Refugee Admissions Q1 - Q3 Fiscal Year 2022" – Refugee Council USA
- "Biden’s Refugee Envoy Looks to Reform Damaged System" (Robbie Gramer) – Foreign Policy
- "Fact Sheet: U.S. Refugee Resettlement" – National Immigration Forum
- "UNHCR: Global refugee resettlement needs will rise steeply next year" – U.N. Refugee Agency
- Refugee Council USA
"US Refugee Admissions Q1 - Q3 Fiscal Year 2022"
- The Policy Circle
"Responding to Refugee Crises"
- Foreign Policy
"Biden’s Refugee Envoy Looks to Reform Damaged System" (Robbie Gramer)
- National Immigration Forum
"Fact Sheet: U.S. Refugee Resettlement"
- U.N. Refugee Agency
"UNHCR: Global refugee resettlement needs will rise steeply next year"