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 March 5, 2020 (a little bit more than five months into fiscal 2020). 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 FY 2020 data span the October 1, 2019 - March 5, 2020 period, and so represent a little bit more than the first five months of the fiscal year.
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. For FY 2019, the number of admitted refugees matched the annual ceiling, both at 30,000. Fiscal year covers data from October 1 through September 30.
The annual ceiling set for FY 2020 is 18,000, the lowest level on record.


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