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Poor countries absorb the most refugees

Debbie Van Dijck
10 March 2017
At the end of February, the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) published its 'Mid-Year Trends 2016' report. It revealed that the majority of refugees are hosted in low and middle income countries. Three of the top 10 host countries are poor. Germany is the only high income country.


Conflict, persecution and violence forced at least 3.2 million people to flee in the first half of 2016. 1.7 million were internally displaced, and 1.5 million crossed an international border. More than half of recent Syrian refugees headed for neighbouring countries Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan. Other relatively large groups fled from Iraq, Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan.

Most of them found refuge in low and middle income countries. Turkey has received the most refugees in the world, at around 2.8 million. They are followed by Pakistan (1.6 million), Lebanon (1 million), Iran (978,000), Ethiopia (742,700), Jordan (691,800), Kenya (523,500), Uganda (512,600), Germany (478,600) and Chad (386,100).

On a per capita basis, Lebanon and Jordan have received the largest number of refugees. In terms of economic capacity, South Sudan and Chad bear the largest burden. In the first half of 2016, the top 10 host countries received almost 10 million refugees, which corresponds with around 60% of the total number of refugees under the mandate of the UNHCR.

The biggest challenges of the migration crisis are in the political sphere. Nationalist opposition in rich countries represents a significant barrier for refugees to settle there. There is currently a crisis of solidarity and cooperation.

Read the full report.


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