Global Refugees Statistics at a Glance


Somalilandsun – Did you know that a new refugee or internally person is created somewhere in the world every 4.5 seconds?

There were 45.2 million forcibly displaced people worldwide at the end of 2012. This figure includes 15.4 million refugees, 937,000 asylum seekers and 28.8 million internally displaced persons (IDPs).

Some 35.8 million people were of concern to UNHCR by the end of 2012, the second highest number on record. This, included 10.5 million refugees and a17.7 million IDPs.

Developing countries host 80% of the refugee population. The 49 Least Developed Countries provided asylum to almost 2.4 million refugees. More than half of the world’s refugees under the UNHCR’s mandate resided in countries Refugee figures in 2012whose GDP per capital was below USD $5,000.

Three-quarters of the world’s refugees resided in countries neighbouring their country of origin.

An estimated 7.6 million people were newly displaced due to conflict or persecution, including 1.1 million new refugees – the highest number of new arrivals in one year since 1999. Another 6.5 million were newly displaced within the borders of their countries, the second-highest figure of the past 10 years.

During the year, conflict and persecution forced an average of 23,000 persons per day to leave their homes and seek protection elsewhere, either within the borders of their own country or in other countries.

The four major refugee hosting countries in 2011 were: Pakistan (1.6 million), followed by Iran (868,200), Germany (589,700) and Kenya (565,000).

Pakistan hosted the largest number of refugees in relation to the size of its economy with 552 refugees per 1 USD DGP (PPP) per capita. Ethiopia (303) and Kenya (301) were second and third respectively.

More than half (55%) of all refugees worldwide came from five countries: Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Syria and Sudan.

During 2012, there were more than 893,700 individual applications for asylum or refugee status submitted. The United States received the most applications with close to 70,400 claims registered in 2012, followed by Germany (64,500), South Africa (61,500) and France (55,100).

By the end of 2012 women and girls made up 48% of the refugees population.

Forty-six (46) per cent of refugees are children below 18 years of age.

More than 21,300 asylum applications were lodged by unaccompanied or separated children in 72 countries in 2012. The figure is the highest on record since UNHCR started collecting such data in 2006. The applications came mostly from Afghan and Somali children.

Information taken from UNHCR’s “2012 Global Trends: Refugees Asylum Seekers, Returnees, Internally Displaced and Stateless Persons”, available at