REFUGEES: THE STATISTICS

Sort fact from fiction with key statistics on the refugee crisis.

Reliable refugee statistics are often hard to come by. Scare stories and inaccuracies have littered the media in recent years, making it even harder to understand the mass movement of people that is currently taking place.

We wanted to give you the facts about displacement. Here are our top ten:

  1. Right now, over 65.6 million individuals have been forcibly displaced by persecution, conflict, violence, or human rights violations. This is a record high, and is roughly equivalent to the entire UK population being forced to flee their homes.
  2. 1 in every 113 people around the world is either an asylum-seeker, internally displaced or a refugee.
  3. The rate of new displacement remains very high: one person becomes displaced every 3 seconds. That’s 20 people forced from their homes, every minute – or 28, 300 every day.
  4. 84% of refugees are hosted by developing countries, and less than 1 in every 5 refugees is hosted in Europe. Host countries are entitled to additional support, thanks to the UN’s responsibility-sharing principle – and humanitarian responses remain perennially underfunded. In 2017, UNHCR appealed for US$209million to support 500, 000 refugees from the Central African Republic, who were spread across the region. By October, just 9% of those funds had been received.
  5. 55% of refugees come from just three countries: Syria, South Sudan
    Climate change and drought exacerbated the famine in Somalia; pictured here is Dadaab camp, Kenya, where many Somali refugees now live.

    55% of all refugees come from Syria, South Sudan or Afghanistan

    and Afghanistan.

  6. Of the 4+ million Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, less than 1 in 10 receive material support from UNHCR or their implementing partners. We work with local and grassroots groups who are trying to fill these enormous gaps – find out more about our work in Lebanon and Turkey here.
  7. Last year, 172, 362 people arrived in Europe via sea: just under half were women and children, and many of these people remain trapped on the Greek islands as a result of the unlawful and inhumane EU-Turkey deal.
  8. 92% of the 15, 140 children who crossed the central Mediterranean between January and September 2017 were alone. These children face overburdened and under-resourced reception centres in Italy; many continue through Europe, at acute risk of abuse and exploitation.
  9. The lack of safe and legal routes to sanctuary continues to claim lives: in 2017, 3,119 men, women and children lost their lives while trying to cross the Mediterranean. Europe does not offer humanitarian visas: safe passage can only be ensured through family reunion applications, or resettlement. But less than 1% of refugees worldwide benefit from resettlement programmes, and family reunification is a restricted and often protracted process. As a result, thousands are forced to risk their lives in their attempt to reach safety.
  10. In 2017, Britain received just 3% of all asylum applications in the EU – Germany, France and Italy all received at least double the amount of applications. Furthermore, asylum seekers are a tiny fraction of new arrivals to the UK: the government’s most recent statistics show that 135.2 million people arrived in Britain in 2017, but just 26, 350 were seeking sanctuary here.

There are more people on the move than ever before – and there is no reason to believe that this number will fall in the near future. Many of the key drivers of displacement – protracted conflict, failed states, human rights violations, climate change – continue to rage, across the world. To help us continue our work, and to support refugees and displaced people across Europe and the Middle East, please donate here. Thank you.

Volunteer with Help Refugees

Since 2015, more than 25,000 volunteers have joined the movement. Find out how you can get involved. More

Raise funds for those in need

Start your own fundraiser to directly support refugees across the world. More

Donate now

94% of your donation will go directly to supporting refugees and displaced people. Donate today. More