Special Report

Where the Most Refugees Arriving to the US Come From

Rodrigo Pardo / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

There are currently 100 million forcibly displaced people in the world, according to the United Nations. Causes for displacement include war, political violence, persecution, natural disasters, famine, and other crises. Some of these people have sought asylum or become refugees in other countries, including the United States. Since President Jimmy Carter signed the Refugee Act of 1980 into law, the U.S. has taken in over 3 million refugees from dozens of countries around the world. This is how many refugees the U.S. has accepted every year since 1980.

To find the 25 countries where the most refugees accepted by the U.S. come from (so far in 2022), 24/7 Wall St. reviewed State Department data from October 2021 to April, 30, 2022 provided by the Refugee Processing Center. We also provided several measures that reflect a country’s level of development, democracy, and peacefulness.

Refugees are defined as people who cannot return to their home country because of a “well-founded fear of persecution” due to their race, political opinion, ethnicity, religion or other group identification. Those fleeing because of extreme weather events or resource scarcity generally do not qualify as refugees.

Of the 25 countries, 10 are in Central and East Africa, five each are in Latin America and Asia, three are in the Middle East, and two are in Europe. Three of the countries (Ukraine, Moldova, and Armenia) are former Soviet republics. (In addition to refugees, the U.S. is also home to thousands of legal immigrants. Here are the countries most immigrants in the U.S. are originally from.)

In January and February, during the lead-up to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. admitted 514 Ukrainian refugees. Since then, of the 14 million people who are estimated to have fled their homes in Ukraine following the start of the Russian invasion, only a few hundred more have been resettled in the United States, making a total of 809 Ukrainian refugees so far in 2022. 

While Ukraine is fifth on the list, the top four countries that the U.S. has accepted refugees from in 2022 are Myanmar, Sudan, Syria, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. War and political upheaval are major factors in the refugee crises in each of these countries. The DRC and Sudan have faced decades of armed conflict, and Syria has been at war for 11 years and counting. In Myanmar, which is going through its own civil war, a Muslim ethnic minority, the Rohingya, have faced persecution for decades. 

Click here to see where the most refugees arriving to the US come from
Click here to see our detailed methodology

Source: Glenn Specht / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

25. Venezuela
> No. of refugees, 2022: 19 (0.2% of total)
> No. of refugees 2021: 3 – 35 highest in 2021
> Human development index (0-1): 0.71 – #113 of 189 countries
> Peace index (1-5): 2.93 – #152 of 163 countries
> Democracy index (0-10): 2.11 – #151 of 167 countries

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24. Pakistan
> No. of refugees, 2022: 21 (0.2% of total)
> No. of refugees 2021: 131 – 12 highest in 2021
> Human development index (0-1): 0.56 – #154 of 189 countries
> Peace index (1-5): 2.87 – #150 of 163 countries
> Democracy index (0-10): 4.31 – #104 of 167 countries

23. Cambodia
> No. of refugees, 2022: 24 (0.2% of total)
> No. of refugees 2021: 2 – 40 highest in 2021
> Human development index (0-1): 0.59 – #144 of 189 countries
> Peace index (1-5): 2.01 – #78 of 163 countries
> Democracy index (0-10): 2.90 – #134(tied) of 167 countries

Source: Ozbalci / iStock via Getty Images

22. Armenia
> No. of refugees, 2022: 26 (0.2% of total)
> No. of refugees 2021: 34 – 23 highest in 2021
> Human development index (0-1): 0.78 – #81 of 189 countries
> Peace index (1-5): 2.08 – #94 of 163 countries
> Democracy index (0-10): 5.49 – #89 of 167 countries

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21. Burundi
> No. of refugees, 2022: 30 (0.3% of total)
> No. of refugees 2021: 124 – 13 highest in 2021
> Human development index (0-1): 0.43 – #185 of 189 countries
> Peace index (1-5): 2.43 – #129 of 163 countries
> Democracy index (0-10): 2.13 – #149 of 167 countries

19. Central African Republic
> No. of refugees, 2022: 41 (0.4% of total)
> No. of refugees 2021: 22 – 29 highest in 2021
> Human development index (0-1): 0.40 – #188 of 189 countries
> Peace index (1-5): 3.13 – #155 of 163 countries
> Democracy index (0-10): 1.43 – #162(tied) of 167 countries

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Source: John Moore / Getty Images News via Getty Images

19. Colombia
> No. of refugees, 2022: 41 (0.4% of total)
> No. of refugees 2021: 48 – 19 highest in 2021
> Human development index (0-1): 0.77 – #83 of 189 countries
> Peace index (1-5): 2.69 – #144 of 163 countries
> Democracy index (0-10): 6.48 – #59 of 167 countries

Source: Jo Raphael / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

17. Ethiopia
> No. of refugees, 2022: 53 (0.5% of total)
> No. of refugees 2021: 72 – 17 highest in 2021
> Human development index (0-1): 0.49 – #173 of 189 countries
> Peace index (1-5): 2.61 – #139 of 163 countries
> Democracy index (0-10): 3.30 – #123 of 167 countries

Source: global_explorer / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

17. Uganda
> No. of refugees, 2022: 53 (0.5% of total)
> No. of refugees 2021: 29 – 25 highest in 2021
> Human development index (0-1): 0.54 – #159 of 189 countries
> Peace index (1-5): 2.22 – #114 of 163 countries
> Democracy index (0-10): 4.48 – #100 of 167 countries

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Source: Jon_Brown / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

16. Rwanda
> No. of refugees, 2022: 66 (0.6% of total)
> No. of refugees 2021: 44 – 20 highest in 2021
> Human development index (0-1): 0.54 – #160 of 189 countries
> Peace index (1-5): 2.03 – #83 of 163 countries
> Democracy index (0-10): 3.10 – #127 of 167 countries

15. Eritrea
> No. of refugees, 2022: 102 (0.9% of total)
> No. of refugees 2021: 184 – 9 highest in 2021
> Human development index (0-1): 0.46 – #180 of 189 countries
> Peace index (1-5): 2.56 – #136 of 163 countries
> Democracy index (0-10): 2.03 – #153 of 167 countries

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Source: Lukas Bischoff / iStock via Getty Images

14. Iran
> No. of refugees, 2022: 111 (1.0% of total)
> No. of refugees 2021: 184 – 9 highest in 2021
> Human development index (0-1): 0.78 – #70 of 189 countries
> Peace index (1-5): 2.64 – #141 of 163 countries
> Democracy index (0-10): 1.95 – #154(tied) of 167 countries

Source: Calin Stan / Getty Images

13. Moldova
> No. of refugees, 2022: 130 (1.2% of total)
> No. of refugees 2021: 78 – 16 highest in 2021
> Human development index (0-1): 0.75 – #90 of 189 countries
> Peace index (1-5): 1.91 – #59 of 163 countries
> Democracy index (0-10): 6.10 – #69(tied) of 167 countries

Source: vlad_karavaev / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

12. South Sudan
> No. of refugees, 2022: 216 (2.0% of total)
> No. of refugees 2021: 93 – 14 highest in 2021
> Human development index (0-1): 0.43 – #185 of 189 countries
> Peace index (1-5): 3.36 – #160 of 163 countries
> Democracy index (0-10): No data

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11. Somalia
> No. of refugees, 2022: 219 (2.0% of total)
> No. of refugees 2021: 174 – 11 highest in 2021
> Human development index (0-1): No data
> Peace index (1-5): 3.21 – #158 of 163 countries
> Democracy index (0-10): No data

Source: Claudiad / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

10. Iraq
> No. of refugees, 2022: 235 (2.2% of total)
> No. of refugees 2021: 497 – 7 highest in 2021
> Human development index (0-1): 0.67 – #123 of 189 countries
> Peace index (1-5): 3.26 – #159 of 163 countries
> Democracy index (0-10): 3.51 – #116(tied) of 167 countries

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Source: Rodrigo Pardo / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

9. Honduras
> No. of refugees, 2022: 249 (2.3% of total)
> No. of refugees 2021: 83 – 15 highest in 2021
> Human development index (0-1): 0.63 – #132 of 189 countries
> Peace index (1-5): 2.37 – #124 of 163 countries
> Democracy index (0-10): 5.10 – #92(tied) of 167 countries

Source: vichinterlang / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

8. El Salvador
> No. of refugees, 2022: 284 (2.6% of total)
> No. of refugees 2021: 200 – 8 highest in 2021
> Human development index (0-1): 0.67 – #124 of 189 countries
> Peace index (1-5): 2.18 – #110 of 163 countries
> Democracy index (0-10): 5.72 – #79(tied) of 167 countries

Source: vichinterlang / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

7. Afghanistan
> No. of refugees, 2022: 313 (2.9% of total)
> No. of refugees 2021: 872 – 3 highest in 2021
> Human development index (0-1): 0.51 – #169 of 189 countries
> Peace index (1-5): 3.63 – #163 of 163 countries
> Democracy index (0-10): 0.32 – #167 of 167 countries

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Source: Rodrigo Pardo / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

6. Guatemala
> No. of refugees, 2022: 489 (4.6% of total)
> No. of refugees 2021: 64 – 18 highest in 2021
> Human development index (0-1): 0.66 – #127 of 189 countries
> Peace index (1-5): 2.19 – #111 of 163 countries
> Democracy index (0-10): 4.62 – #99 of 167 countries

Source: Ruslan Lytvyn / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

5. Ukraine
> No. of refugees, 2022: 809 (7.5% of total)
> No. of refugees 2021: 803 – 4 highest in 2021
> Human development index (0-1): 0.78 – #74 of 189 countries
> Peace index (1-5): 2.66 – #142 of 163 countries
> Democracy index (0-10): 5.57 – #86(tied) of 167 countries

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Source: Suvra Kanti Das / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

4. Myanmar
> No. of refugees, 2022: 928 (8.6% of total)
> No. of refugees 2021: 772 – 5 highest in 2021
> Human development index (0-1): No data
> Peace index (1-5): No data
> Democracy index (0-10): No data

Source: Claudiad / E+ via Getty Images

3. Sudan
> No. of refugees, 2022: 1,170 (10.9% of total)
> No. of refugees 2021: 513 – 6 highest in 2021
> Human development index (0-1): 0.51 – #170 of 189 countries
> Peace index (1-5): 2.94 – #153 of 163 countries
> Democracy index (0-10): 2.47 – #145 of 167 countries

Source: cloverphoto / iStock via Getty Images

2. Syria
> No. of refugees, 2022: 2,511 (23.4% of total)
> No. of refugees 2021: 1,246 – 2 highest in 2021
> Human development index (0-1): 0.57 – #151 of 189 countries
> Peace index (1-5): 3.37 – #161 of 163 countries
> Democracy index (0-10): 1.43 – #162(tied) of 167 countries

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1. Democratic Republic of the Congo
> No. of refugees, 2022: 2,528 (23.5% of total)
> No. of refugees 2021: 4,891 – 1 highest in 2021
> Human development index (0-1): 0.48 – #175 of 189 countries
> Peace index (1-5): 3.20 – #157 of 163 countries
> Democracy index (0-10): 1.40 – #164 of 167 countries

Methodology

To find the 25 countries where the most refugees accepted by the U.S. come from, so far in 2022, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed State Department data from October 2021 to April, 30, 2022. Specifically, the data comes from the Refugee Processing Center, which is operated by the U.S Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration. We also provided full-year 2021 figures.

Additional data includes: 1. The United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Index for 2019 (the most recent available). The HDI includes income, health, and education measures and ranks countries on a scale of 0-1 with 1 being most developed. 2. The 2021 Global Peace Index from the Sydney-based nonprofit think tank Institute for Economics & Peace ranks countries on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being most peaceful. The peace index includes measures such as armed conflict and crime. 3. The 2021 Democracy Index is from EIU, the research and analysis division of The Economist Group. The democracy index includes measures in categories such as the electoral process, civil liberties, the functioning of government, and rates countries on a scale of 0-10, with 10 being most democratic

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