Largest Refugee and Asylum Seeker Populations by Country of Destination, 1960-2020


Largest Refugee and Asylum Seeker Populations by Country of Destination, 1960-2020

Refugee populations are highly variable between decades, but a few countries stand out as regularly hosting large refugee communities. This map displays which countries report refugee populations (including asylum seekers) greater than 500,000 in each decade between 1960 and 2020. Furthermore, it lists the 25 largest refugee populations by country of destination and the refugee share of the total population.


1) Refugees are those recognized under UN conventions and protocols as well as UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) statutes as deserving of protection. Data in this tool are based on the estimates of refugee populations or persons in refugee-like situations prepared by UNHCR and, where appropriate, by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The tool does not include internally displaced persons (IDPs). For more information on the UN Population Division’s methodology to estimate the size of refugee population, visit:

2) The UN Population Division may base population estimates on projections from data collected in earlier years. The term 'estimate year' reflects that data are aggregated from different sources and standardized.

3) Data prior to 1990 may not include asylum seekers.


Migration Policy Institute tabulation of data from the United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2020), International Migrant Stock 2020, Table 6: Estimated Refugee Stock (including asylum seekers) at Mid-Year by Region, Country or Area of Destination, 1990-2020. Available here: