Global Trends At-a-Glance

By the end of 2020, 82.4 million individuals were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, violence or human rights violations. That was an increase of 2.9 million people over the previous year, and the world’s forcibly displaced population remained at a record high. This includes:

  • 26.4 million refugees in the world—the highest ever seen;
  • 48.0 million internally displaced people; and
  • 4.1 million asylum-seekers.
  • 3.9 million Venezuelans displaced abroad

Although the COVID-19 pandemic slowed the rate of new displacement in 2020, new asylum claims still remain high. In 2020, asylum-seekers submitted 1.1 million new claims.



Nearly equivalent to the entire population of Germany.

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Noteworthy Facts and Statistics by Region/Country


Sub-Saharan Africa

  • The East and Horn of Africa, and Great Lakes region hosted 4.5 million refugees at the end of 2020. 
  • Uganda, Sudan and Ethiopia hosted over two-thirds of refugees in the region
  • Conflict in the Tigray region in Ethiopia led to the displacement of more than 54,000 Ethiopians by the end 2020. 
  • The largest regional increase in the number of refugees in 2020 was in West and Central Africa (+12%).


  • In recent years, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras have experienced a dramatic escalation in violence by organized criminal groups, locally called maras.
  • The number of refugees and Venezuelans displaced abroad grew by 8% in 2020, reaching 4.6 million by the end of the year. 
  • Colombia hosted more than 1.7 million people displaced across borders. 
  • 867,800 people originating from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras remained forcibly displaced


  • Turkey continued to be the world's largest refugee-hosting country, accounting for nearly 15% of all people displaced across borders. 
  • Overall, the number of refugees hosted in Europe rose 3%. 
  • Europe granted international protection to more than a quarter of a million people within the region. 


  • In 2020, the number of Iraqi refugees in Iran decreased to 20,000, causing it to fall below the statistical threshold that defined Iraq as a protracted refugee situation. 
  • 278,000 Iraqi IDPs returned to their homes in 2020. 

South Sudan

  • By the end of 2020, there were more than 2.1 million South Sudanese refugees. 
  • 95% of South Sudanese refugees are hosted in Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya. 
  • 122,000 South Sudanese refugees returned to their country in 2020. 


  • Conflict in Syria reached its 10th year in 2020.
  • There are 13.5 million displaced Syrian, representing more than half of Syria's total population. 
  • 6.7 million Syrian refugees are hosted in 128 countries. 
  • 80% of all Syrian refugees are located in neighboring countries, with Turkey hosting more than half (3.6 million). 

Rohingya Refugee Emergency

  • 1.1 million stateless Rohingya refugees have fled Myanmar since the start of violence in 2017. 
  • 90% of Rohingya refugees live in Bangladesh and Malaysia. 
  • The Rohingya are a stateless Muslim minority in Myanmar. The vast majority of Rohingya refugees are women and children, including newborn babies. Many others are elderly people requiring additional aid and protection.


  • In 2020, the number of Ukrainian refugees decreased to 18,400, bringing it below the statistical definition threshold of a protracted refugee situation. 
  • UNHCR supported the development of a national framework in Ukraine for the protection of IDPs. 
  • Women make up 56% of internally displaced people in Ukraine. 


  • Fighting in Yemen, already one of the poorest countries in the Middle East, has severely compounded needs arising from long years of poverty and insecurity.
  • In 2020, the internally displaced population in Yemen reached 4 million people, with displaced families facing an acute risk of famine. 
  • Natural disasters have exacerbated conflict in Yemen, forcing Yemenis to flee multiple times. 


of people displaced across borders come from just five countries: Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, South Sudan and Myanmar.


General Trends:

  • Refugees children are five times more likely to be out of school than their non-refugee peers.
  • Only 3.4 million of the 7.1 million refugees of school-age were enrolled in primary or secondary education in 2018. More than half of them — 3.7 million — did not go to school.
  • Primary education enrollment for refugees increased from 61 percent in 2016 to 63 percent in 2018, in large part due to improvements for Syrian refugee children thanks to increased international efforts and measures taken by host governments.

Primary, Secondary and Higher Education:

  • 76 percent of refugee adolescents were not in secondary school.
  • 61 percent of refugee children, and less that 50 percent of refugee children in low-income countries, attend primary school. Globally, 91 percent of children attend primary school.
  • 24 percent of refugee adolescents, and 9 percent of refugee adolescents in low-income countries, attend secondary school.  Globally, 84 percent of adolescents attend secondary school.
  • Only 3 percent of refugees enroll in college or university.  Across the world, enrollment in college or university stands at 37 percent.

Gender Gap:

  • For every ten refugee boys in primary school, there are fewer than eight refugee girls.
  • For every ten refugee boys in secondary school there are fewer than seven refugee girls.

3.7 Million

Number of refugee school-age children not in school.

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