How many refugees are there in the world? Where do they come from, and where do they live? This page explores the key global refugee numbers, drawn from UNHCR’s Global Trends 2017 report and its statistical appendices. This report publishes statistics at the end of 2017 (and is published in 2018).

You can also read our analysis of that report.

How many people are forcibly displaced?

At the end of 2017, the number of people forcibly displaced reached a high of 68.5 million people. This included 25.4 million refugees under both UNHCR’s mandate and UNRWA (which looks after Palestinian refugees).

Bar chart showing numbers of people forcibly displaced by category

Where do they come from?

The top 10 countries of origin is headed once again by Syria and Afghanistan. However, African countries dominate the top ten countries of origin.

Bar chart showing top 10 countries of origin

Where do they go?

People flee overwhelming to neighbouring countries. Turkey, Pakistan, Lebanon, and Iran (the top four) are close to major countries of origin.

Bar chat showing top 10 hosts by numbers

This graph lists the number of refugees compared to the population of a country. The country with the largest proportionate number of refugees is Lebanon, followed by Nauru. Australia is 57th on the list.

Bar chart comparing ratio of people to population, and rank of country by ratio

This graph lists the number of refugees compared to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of a country. Most of the countries in the top 10 are in Africa. Australia is 94th on the list.

Bar chart showing top 10 host countries by capacity (GDP)

Which countries have the most asylum applications?

This graph shows the top 10 countries with asylum applications pending at the end of 2017. As developing countries which are major hosts of refugees often don’t have refugee status determination systems, this list is dominated by developed countries.

Clustered column chart showing top 10 countries by asylum applications