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Refugee Council of Australia
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Home > Statistics > Global refugee numbers

Global refugee numbers

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 2018 report and its statistical appendices. This report publishes statistics at the end of 2018 (and is published in 2019).

How generous is Australia’s Refugee Program?

How many people are forcibly displaced?

At the end of 2018, the number of people forcibly displaced reached a high of 70.8 million people. This included 25.9 million refugees under both UNHCR’s mandate and UNRWA (which looks after Palestinian refugees).

Bar chart showing numbers of people forcibly displaced

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.

Where do they go?

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

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.

This graph lists the number of refugees compared to the population of a country.

Which countries have the most asylum applications?

This graph shows the top 10 countries with asylum applications pending at the end of 2018. As developing countries which are major hosts of refugees often don’t have refugee status determination systems, this list is dominated by developed countries.

How many stateless people are there?

It is much more difficult to get reliable data on stateless people. However, UNHCR estimates that there are 2.8 million stateless people under its mandate.  This map shows where they live.

World map showing statelessness by country

UNHCR Global Trends 2018

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Contact us

Do you have a question about our statistics, or would you like to know more information? Contact us at policy@refugeecouncil.org.au.