U.S. Annual Refugee Resettlement Ceilings and Number of Refugees Admitted, 1980-Present

U.S. Annual Refugee Resettlement Ceilings and Number of Refugees Admitted, 1980-Present

This data tool shows refugee admissions and annual resettlement ceilings from the U.S. refugee resettlement program's inception in 1980 through the first 11 and a half months of fiscal 2019 (through September 11, 2019). The number of persons who may be admitted to the United States as refugees each year is established by the President in consultation with Congress. Refugees are individuals who are unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin or nationality because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.


The data tool tracks refugee resettlement numbers and annual ceilings set since the resettlement program was enacted with the Refugee Act of 1980. It includes Amerasian immigrants except in fiscal years (FY) 1980 to 1988. Refugee arrival data from the State Department's Worldwide Refugee Admissions Processing System (WRAPS) differ slightly from the Department of Homeland Security’s Yearbook of Immigration Statistics due to a different data collection approach. Because the numbers of admitted refugees for FY 2013-2016 are nearly the same as the refugee admission ceiling (70,000 in FY 2014-2015 and 85,000 in FY 2016), the line representing refugee admissions might not be fully visible on the chart. Actual admissions for those years were: 69,987 in FY 2014, 69,933 in FY 2015, and 84,995 in FY 2016.
* The FY 2019 data are partial-year data, covering the October 1, 2018 - September 11, 2019 period. (The full fiscal year runs through September 30.)


Migration Policy Institute (MPI) analysis of WRAPS data from the State Department Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration. Available at http://www.wrapsnet.org/admissions-and-arrivals/.