Looking for protection

People on the move. Data from around the world.

65.6 million people displaced by force

They have fled persecution, wars, violence, oppression, human rights' violations and natural disasters.

Source: UNHCR, 2016

internally displaced people

These are people who have left their homes but have been unwilling or unable to find refuge beyond the borders of their own country. They represent 61.5% of all forcibly displaced people.


People who have abandoned their country and received international protection in another state. They represent 34.2% of the total.

asylum seekers

People who have fled their own country and requested international protection in another country but have yet to receive an answer. They represent 4,3%.

10 million stateless persons

No country recognises their nationality. They are spread around 77 countries.

Source: UNHCR, 2016

258 million international migrants

Many are fleeing poverty, hunger and inequality, seeking a better future and more opportunities outside their borders. They are not counted as forcibly displaced persons and have no access to any system of international protection.

Source: UN, 2017

The world is facing its worst refugee crisis since the Second World War. Violence, armed conflicts, natural disasters, oppression, human rights' violation and persecution forced nearly 12.4 million people to abandon their homes in 2015, according to UNHCR data. Of those, 8.6 million became new, internally displaced persons, and 3.8 million became new refugees. On average, 24 people worldwide were displaced from their homes every minute.

The global figure for internally displaced persons, refugees and asylum seekers exceeded 65.3 million in 2015. That is the equivalent to the population of Great Britain. The number of refugees living outside their countries of origin reached its highest level in the last two decades, 21.3 million. More than 5 million of those are Palestinians, the world's biggest refugee population.

Africa, the Middle East and Asia are the most unstable regions in the world and the ones that produce the most refugees. The movement of people has accelerated in recent years as a result of new conflicts that have broken out, and others that have started up again or where the situation has deteriorated. Ukraine, in Europe, has joined them. These are conflicts with international roots, such as those in Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen; civil wars like those in Syria, Somalia, South Sudan or the Democratic Republic of Congo, and situations where there are systematic human rights' violation, for example, in Eritrea and Nigeria.

Morre than half the world's refugees come from Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia. One in four from Syria alone. The conflict that broke out there in March 2011 has had devastating effects on the civilian population. Of the 23 million people living there at that time, 6.8 million were internally displaced in 2015, 4.7 million had sought refuge in neighbouring countries and 250,000 applied for asylum. Over 200,000 have died and thousands have disappeared.

Nearly half of the 16.1 million refugees under the UNHCR mandate are surviving in African and Middle-Eastern countries.

The least developed and most unstable regions on the planet are those that produce and give shelter to the most refugees at the same time. That has always been the case but now the pressure is becoming unbearable. Nearly half of the 16.1 million refugees under the UNHCR mandate are surviving in African and Middle-Eastern countries. Africa also has nearly 40% of all asylum seekers.

The people that have fled Syria have mostly sought protection in neighbouring countries. Turkey (almost 2.5 million), Lebanon (nearly 1.1 million), Jordan (more than 637,000), Iraq (over 245,000) and Egypt (close to 117,000) host 95% of its refugees. The Syrian conflict has put Turkey at the top of the list of host countries. It used to be Pakistan, now second, followed by Lebanon, Iran, Ethiopia and Jordan. Lebanon is top of the list for refugees per capita, with one for every four inhabitants.

The record for the number of people who have applied for international protection and are still waiting a response, was broken in 2015, when it reached 3.2 million worldwide, the highest number seen in the last 15 years.

Their distribution is unequal too. By continent, close on 40% are in Africa, 32% in Europe and 11% in North America. The countries that accept most are Russia, Germany, the United States, Turkey, Sweden, Italy and France, in that order.

World map drawn up by the UNHCR. It shows the current number of people that concern the UN Refugee Agency and the increase in forcibly displaced persons over the years. The number and trend can be seen broken down by country, in absolute and percentage terms.