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Refugee & Asylum Seeker Law Research Guide: Refugee Statistics

Finding Worldwide / Global Statistics

The UNHCR provides several statistical resources - ranging from general overviews to sophisticated statistical tools, including:

The UNHCR Statistical Yearbooks follow major trends in displacement, protection and solutions. They are available from 1994 to current.

See also the up to date Figures At a Glance.

The Global Trends Report is published every year to analyse the changes in UNHCR’s populations of concern. UNHCR counts and tracks the numbers of refugees, internally displaced people, people who have returned to their countries or areas of origin, asylum-seekers, stateless people and other populations of concern to UNHCR. These data are kept up to date and analysed in terms of various criteria, such as where people are, their age and whether they are male or female. 

UNHCR Population Statistics database

The database currently contains data about UNHCR's 'populations of concern' from the year 1951 up to the current time. You can use it to investigate different aspects of these populations: their general composition by location of residence or origin, their status (refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced persons, etc.), their evolution over time etc. Click here to search the database.

UNHCR's 'populations of concern' include Refugees, Asylum-seekers, Returned refugees, Internally displaced persons (IDPs), Returned IDPs, Stateless persons and 'Others of concern' (ie: individuals who do not necessarily fall directly into any of the groups above, but to whom UNHCR extends its protection and/or assistance services, based on humanitarian or other special grounds).

In each of the screens in the system (populations of concern, demographics, time series, asylum seekers (refugee status determinations), asylum seekers (monthly data) and resettlement), you start by selecting the year or years you are interested in, then choosing one or more countries or territories of residence and/or origin. You can focus on specific types of population by checking the boxes for only those you are concerned with, and you can summarize the data by checking the boxes for only those data items by which you wish the data to be broken down.

The Resettlement Data Finder is updated monthly and provides resettlement statistics, interactive graphs and maps.

 

Finding Statistics for Individual Countries

To find the refugee statistics for a particular country, use:

The UNHCR Population Statistics database for detailed statistics, which contains data about UNHCR's 'populations of concern' from the year 1951 up to the current time. Use the top tabs - populations of concern, demographics, time series, asylum seekers (refugee status determinations), asylum seekers (monthly data) and resettlement - first select the year or years in which you are interested, then choose one or more countries or territories of residence and/or origin. There are further ways to narrow your search within each tab.

The UNHCR Global Trends also includes a breakdown by country of asylum and country of origin. These are available from 2003 to current. See for example the Annex Tables of the 2017 Global Trends Report (scroll to the bottom of the webpage to download Tables 3-29 as Excel spreadsheets. Tables 1-2 are available in the full text PDF report, strting at page 62). Table 1 is Refugees, asylum-seekers, internally displaced persons (IDPs), returnees (refugees and IDPs), stateless persons, and others of concern to UNHCR by country/territory of asylum. Table 2 is Refugees, asylum-seekers, internally displaced persons (IDPs), returnees (refugees and IDPs), stateless persons, and others of concern to UNHCR by country of origin.

The Analysis of the monthly asylum trends provides up to date information on  asylum applications lodged in selected countries in Europe, North America, Oceania and Asia.

Refugee agencies in individual countries and regions will also provide up to date statistics. Use the Regional and Country tabs in this Guide to find statistics for the countries and regions we have included in the Guide.