Special Report

Countries Taking In the Most Refugees and Where They Come From

Claudiad / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

After a significant jump in the number of refugees in 2022 as a result of Russia’s war in Ukraine, the number of refugees under the United Nations Refugee Agency mandate grew at a more tepid pace. There were 30.5 million refugees in 2023, a 3.7% jump from 29.4 million in 2022 (excluding 5.9 million refugees under the UNRWA mandate). The host countries, too, remained largely the same.

To find the countries taking in the most refugees, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on refugees from the United Nations Refugee Agency, known as UNHCR. We used mid-year 2023 data and compared it to data five years prior (2018). We only included refugees, and excluded asylum seekers and internally displaced persons, though we added the data for asylum seekers. All data is from the UNHCR except for population data, which came from the World Bank. UNHCR methodology can be found here.

So how does UNHCR define a refugee? “Refugees are people who have been forced to flee their homes and have crossed an international border to find safety in another country,” UNHCR explains. Refugees are recognized under several UN conventions, protocols, and statutes, and include people in refugee-like situations for whom refugee status has all but been ascertained. This is unlike asylum seekers, for whom refugee status has not yet been determined.

Excluding internally displaced persons, six countries host over a million refugees. Of the six, four countries host over 2 million refugees, and two — Iran and Turkey — host about 3.4 million refugees. Iran hosts mostly refugees from Afghanistan, while Turkey hosts mostly refugees from Syria. (Here are Countries Where the Most Illegal Immigrants Were Expelled from the US During the Pandemic.)

Four more countries host over 900,000 refugees, including Poland, which hosts about 990,000 refugees, with the large majority, or 976,000, from Ukraine. Germany, which took in over 2.5 million refugees, hosts over 1 million refugees from Ukraine. In Africa, Ethiopia and Sudan took in refugees mostly from South Sudan, while in South Asia, Pakistan and Bangladesh, host mostly refugees from Afghanistan and Myanmar, respectively.

The United States took in the 18th most refugees, at 389,335, a 24% increase from 2018. The largest share of refugees are from China at 63,000. The U.S. also accepted nearly 2.2 million asylum seekers, a significant jump from about 719,000 in 2018. (Also see: The 8 US Wars That Displaced the Most People After 9/11.)

25. Iraq

Source: Spencer Platt / Getty Images
  • Total refugees hosting, 2023: 279,240
  • Largest country of origin, 2023: Syrian Arab Rep. — 263,920 refugees
  • Change in refugees from 2018-2023: -1.3% (283,018 refugees in 2018)
  • Largest country of origin, 2018: Syrian Arab Rep. — 252,526 refugees
  • Total asylum seekers, 2023: 11,246 (compared to 14,013 in 2018)
  • Iraq population, 2022: 44,496,122 (refugee population: 0.6%}

24. Egypt

Source: Spencer Platt / Getty Images News via Getty Images
  • Total refugees hosting, 2023: 300,128
  • Largest country of origin, 2023: Syrian Arab Rep. — 147,999 refugees
  • Change in refugees from 2018-2023: +21.6% (246,746 refugees in 2018)
  • Largest country of origin, 2018: Syrian Arab Rep. — 132,871 refugees
  • Total asylum seekers, 2023: 84,154 (compared to 68,168 in 2018)
  • Egypt population, 2022: 110,990,103 (refugee population: 0.3%}

23. Italy

refugees+in+Spain | Refugees Welcome
Source: boklm / Flickr
  • Total refugees hosting, 2023: 308,663
  • Largest country of origin, 2023: Ukraine — 164,930 refugees
  • Change in refugees from 2018-2023: +63.1% (189,227 refugees in 2018)
  • Largest country of origin, 2018: Nigeria — 22,319 refugees
  • Total asylum seekers, 2023: 102,028 (compared to 105,606 in 2018)
  • Italy population, 2022: 58,856,847 (refugee population: 0.5%}

22. South Sudan

Source: vlad_karavaev / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Total refugees hosting, 2023: 314,883
  • Largest country of origin, 2023: Sudan — 295,276 refugees
  • Change in refugees from 2018-2023: +7.9% (291,838 refugees in 2018)
  • Largest country of origin, 2018: Sudan — 269,924 refugees
  • Total asylum seekers, 2023: 2,606 (compared to 2,535 in 2018)
  • South Sudan population, 2022: 10,913,164 (refugee population: 2.9%}

21. Czechia

Source: doctorow / Flickr
  • Total refugees hosting, 2023: 351,338
  • Largest country of origin, 2023: Ukraine — 348,710 refugees
  • Change in refugees from 2018-2023: +15,972.2% (2,186 refugees in 2018)
  • Largest country of origin, 2018: Syrian Arab Rep. — 448 refugees
  • Total asylum seekers, 2023: 1,046 (compared to 1,910 in 2018)
  • Czechia population, 2022: 10,526,073 (refugee population: 3.3%}

20. United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Source: Carl Court / Getty Images
  • Total refugees hosting, 2023: 365,262
  • Largest country of origin, 2023: Ukraine — 212,780 refugees
  • Change in refugees from 2018-2023: +188.3% (126,708 refugees in 2018)
  • Largest country of origin, 2018: Iran (Islamic Rep. of) — 17,231 refugees
  • Total asylum seekers, 2023: 175,438 (compared to 45,234 in 2018)
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland population, 2022: 66,971,411 (refugee population: 0.5%}

19. Spain

Source: stocklapse / iStock via Getty Images
  • Total refugees hosting, 2023: 369,722
  • Largest country of origin, 2023: Ukraine — 177,768 refugees
  • Change in refugees from 2018-2023: +1,709.1% (20,437 refugees in 2018)
  • Largest country of origin, 2018: Syrian Arab Rep. — 13,765 refugees
  • Total asylum seekers, 2023: 154,440 (compared to 78,685 in 2018)
  • Spain population, 2022: 47,615,034 (refugee population: 0.8%}

18. United States of America

Source: vichinterlang / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images
  • Total refugees hosting, 2023: 389,335
  • Largest country of origin, 2023: China — 63,001 refugees
  • Change in refugees from 2018-2023: +24.3% (313,242 refugees in 2018)
  • Largest country of origin, 2018: China — 77,710 refugees
  • Total asylum seekers, 2023: 2,195,300 (compared to 718,992 in 2018)
  • United States of America population, 2022: 333,287,557 (refugee population: 0.1%}

17. Cameroon

Source: eu_echo / Flickr
  • Total refugees hosting, 2023: 469,277
  • Largest country of origin, 2023: Central African Rep. — 350,419 refugees
  • Change in refugees from 2018-2023: +23.4% (380,327 refugees in 2018)
  • Largest country of origin, 2018: Central African Rep. — 274,688 refugees
  • Total asylum seekers, 2023: 8,554 (compared to 8,092 in 2018)
  • Cameroon population, 2022: 27,914,536 (refugee population: 1.7%}

16. Kenya

Source: Oli Scarff / Getty Images News via Getty Images
  • Total refugees hosting, 2023: 519,353
  • Largest country of origin, 2023: Somalia — 282,123 refugees
  • Change in refugees from 2018-2023: +23.3% (421,243 refugees in 2018)
  • Largest country of origin, 2018: Somalia — 252,498 refugees
  • Total asylum seekers, 2023: 104,490 (compared to 50,458 in 2018)
  • Kenya population, 2022: 54,027,487 (refugee population: 1.0%}

15. Dem. Rep. of the Congo

Source: Jon_Brown / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Total refugees hosting, 2023: 520,073
  • Largest country of origin, 2023: Central African Rep. — 210,272 refugees
  • Change in refugees from 2018-2023: -1.7% (529,065 refugees in 2018)
  • Largest country of origin, 2018: Rwanda — 216,986 refugees
  • Total asylum seekers, 2023: 3,449 (compared to 5,770 in 2018)
  • Dem. Rep. of the Congo population, 2022: 99,010,212 (refugee population: 0.5%}

14. France

Source: Carl Court / Getty Images
  • Total refugees hosting, 2023: 641,626
  • Largest country of origin, 2023: Afghanistan — 71,217 refugees
  • Change in refugees from 2018-2023: +74.2% (368,345 refugees in 2018)
  • Largest country of origin, 2018: Unknown — 91,266 refugees
  • Total asylum seekers, 2023: 65,222 (compared to 89,055 in 2018)
  • France population, 2022: 67,935,660 (refugee population: 0.9%}

13. Jordan

Source: Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images
  • Total refugees hosting, 2023: 695,821
  • Largest country of origin, 2023: Syrian Arab Rep. — 659,457 refugees
  • Change in refugees from 2018-2023: -2.7% (715,298 refugees in 2018)
  • Largest country of origin, 2018: Syrian Arab Rep. — 676,283 refugees
  • Total asylum seekers, 2023: 44,160 (compared to 52,536 in 2018)
  • Jordan population, 2022: 11,285,869 (refugee population: 6.2%}

12. Chad

Source: Scott Nelson / Getty Images
  • Total refugees hosting, 2023: 762,731
  • Largest country of origin, 2023: Sudan — 585,876 refugees
  • Change in refugees from 2018-2023: +69.0% (451,203 refugees in 2018)
  • Largest country of origin, 2018: Sudan — 336,674 refugees
  • Total asylum seekers, 2023: 5,392 (compared to 3,467 in 2018)
  • Chad population, 2022: 17,723,315 (refugee population: 4.3%}

11. Lebanon

Source: Spencer Platt / Getty Images News via Getty Images
  • Total refugees hosting, 2023: 799,175
  • Largest country of origin, 2023: Syrian Arab Rep. — 795,322 refugees
  • Change in refugees from 2018-2023: -15.8% (949,653 refugees in 2018)
  • Largest country of origin, 2018: Syrian Arab Rep. — 944,181 refugees
  • Total asylum seekers, 2023: 7,769 (compared to 16,404 in 2018)
  • Lebanon population, 2022: 5,489,739 (refugee population: 14.6%}

10. Ethiopia

Source: Jo Raphael / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Total refugees hosting, 2023: 921,822
  • Largest country of origin, 2023: South Sudan — 416,660 refugees
  • Change in refugees from 2018-2023: +2.1% (903,226 refugees in 2018)
  • Largest country of origin, 2018: South Sudan — 422,135 refugees
  • Total asylum seekers, 2023: 4,038 (compared to 2,136 in 2018)
  • Ethiopia population, 2022: 123,379,924 (refugee population: 0.7%}

9. Sudan

Source: Claudiad / E+ via Getty Images
  • Total refugees hosting, 2023: 926,433
  • Largest country of origin, 2023: South Sudan — 680,994 refugees
  • Change in refugees from 2018-2023: -14.1% (1,078,280 refugees in 2018)
  • Largest country of origin, 2018: South Sudan — 852,080 refugees
  • Total asylum seekers, 2023: 33,272 (compared to 17,619 in 2018)
  • Sudan population, 2022: 46,874,204 (refugee population: 2.0%}

8. Bangladesh

Source: Suvra Kanti Das / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Total refugees hosting, 2023: 961,801
  • Largest country of origin, 2023: Myanmar — 961,787 refugees
  • Change in refugees from 2018-2023: +6.1% (906,640 refugees in 2018)
  • Largest country of origin, 2018: Myanmar — 906,635 refugees
  • Total asylum seekers, 2023: 16 (compared to 39 in 2018)
  • Bangladesh population, 2022: 171,186,372 (refugee population: 0.6%}

7. Poland

Source: Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images News via Getty Images
  • Total refugees hosting, 2023: 989,877
  • Largest country of origin, 2023: Ukraine — 976,414 refugees
  • Change in refugees from 2018-2023: +7,822.2% (12,495 refugees in 2018)
  • Largest country of origin, 2018: Russian Federation — 9,893 refugees
  • Total asylum seekers, 2023: 3,820 (compared to 3,059 in 2018)
  • Poland population, 2022: 37,561,599 (refugee population: 2.6%}

6. Russian Federation

Source: Joe Raedle / Getty Images News via Getty Images
  • Total refugees hosting, 2023: 1,249,342
  • Largest country of origin, 2023: Ukraine — 1,246,851 refugees
  • Change in refugees from 2018-2023: +1,514.5% (77,382 refugees in 2018)
  • Largest country of origin, 2018: Ukraine — 75,146 refugees
  • Total asylum seekers, 2023: 773 (compared to 1,361 in 2018)
  • Russian Federation population, 2022: 144,236,933 (refugee population: 0.9%}

5. Uganda

Source: global_explorer / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Total refugees hosting, 2023: 1,512,681
  • Largest country of origin, 2023: South Sudan — 882,729 refugees
  • Change in refugees from 2018-2023: +29.8% (1,165,646 refugees in 2018)
  • Largest country of origin, 2018: South Sudan — 788,848 refugees
  • Total asylum seekers, 2023: 48,956 (compared to 25,269 in 2018)
  • Uganda population, 2022: 47,249,585 (refugee population: 3.2%}

4. Pakistan

Source: Spencer Platt / Getty Images
  • Total refugees hosting, 2023: 2,080,501
  • Largest country of origin, 2023: Afghanistan — 2,079,989 refugees
  • Change in refugees from 2018-2023: +48.2% (1,404,008 refugees in 2018)
  • Largest country of origin, 2018: Afghanistan — 1,403,521 refugees
  • Total asylum seekers, 2023: 48,893 (compared to 5,170 in 2018)
  • Pakistan population, 2022: 235,824,862 (refugee population: 0.9%}

3. Germany

Source: Sean Gallup / Getty Images
  • Total refugees hosting, 2023: 2,509,506
  • Largest country of origin, 2023: Ukraine — 1,038,504 refugees
  • Change in refugees from 2018-2023: +135.9% (1,063,835 refugees in 2018)
  • Largest country of origin, 2018: Syrian Arab Rep. — 532,065 refugees
  • Total asylum seekers, 2023: 349,034 (compared to 369,239 in 2018)
  • Germany population, 2022: 84,079,811 (refugee population: 3.0%}

2. Turkiye (Turkey)

Source: Gokhan Sahin / Getty Images
  • Total refugees hosting, 2023: 3,368,976
  • Largest country of origin, 2023: Syrian Arab Rep. — 3,332,896 refugees
  • Change in refugees from 2018-2023: -8.5% (3,681,688 refugees in 2018)
  • Largest country of origin, 2018: Syrian Arab Rep. — 3,622,366 refugees
  • Total asylum seekers, 2023: 260,605 (compared to 311,699 in 2018)
  • Turkiye population, 2022: 85,341,241 (refugee population: 3.9%}

1. Iran (Islamic Rep. of)

Source: BornaMir / iStock via Getty Images
  • Total refugees hosting, 2023: 3,443,522
  • Largest country of origin, 2023: Afghanistan — 3,431,680 refugees
  • Change in refugees from 2018-2023: +251.6% (979,435 refugees in 2018)
  • Largest country of origin, 2018: Afghanistan — 951,142 refugees
  • Total asylum seekers, 2023: 7 (compared to 33 in 2018)
  • Iran (Islamic Rep. of) population, 2022: 88,550,570 (refugee population: 3.9%}

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