Newly released data show refugee numbers at record levels


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The number of refugees globally rose to 25.9 million in 2018, up from 25.4 million in 2017, and setting a new record, according to newly released UNHCR report and World Bank estimates. The number of people seeking international protection outside of their country of origin has increased 70% since 2011.

Countries producing the largest numbers of refugees include (in order) the Syrian Arab Republic, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Myanmar, Somalia, and Sudan. More than half (56%) of the world’s refugees in 2018 came from these six countries. The number of refugees from Syria, South Sudan, and Myanmar has increased rapidly over the last couple of years.

Where do these refugees go? The majority of them live in countries neighboring their countries of origin. About half of the world’s 26 million refugees are hosted by just six countries—Turkey, Jordan, West Bank and Gaza, Lebanon, Pakistan, and Uganda. The share rises to nearly 75% if the next eight refugee-hosting countries: Bangladesh, Chad, Congo DR, Ethiopia, Germany, Iran, South Sudan, and Syria. Among the regions of the world, the Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Europe and Central Asia, and South Asia host the largest numbers of refugees. The majority of hosts are low- and middle-income countries.

These new data will become available soon in the World Development Indicators database. To monitor these situations, statistics are critical to inform the response of the international community. The Expert Group on Refugee and Internally Displaced Persons Statistics (EGRIS) was established in 2016 and continues its efforts for more reliable and high-quality refugee statistics. A blog about World Bank engagement through the EGRIS is available here.


Henry Igbaji
July 01, 2019

Things must return from bad to good. The action of World Bank and her affiliates must be commended. We are willing to partner on this.

najwa khuri-bulos
July 01, 2019

I am interested in knowing the number of refugees in the region and the health services provided to them

David G
September 10, 2019

Where is Bangladesh in the list? It hosts almost a million refugees from Myanmar

September 10, 2019
Hoshang Noraiee
October 25, 2021

I think World Bank has been one of the important institutions which has caused the issue of refugee, Policies they have pursued created more gaps between global south and north and more social fragmentations in each particular country.