In 2011, an estimated 4.3 million people were newly displaced due to conflict or persecution. More than 800,000 people were displaced as refugees across international borders, the highest number in more than a decade. Another 3.5 million people were newly displaced within the borders of their countries, a 20 per cent increase from 2010
Of the world's displaced, 25.9 million people were receiving protection or assistance from UNHCR at the end of 2011 (10.4 million refugees and 15.5 million Internally Displaced Peoples). This was 700,000 people more than in 2010.
Statelessness was estimated to have affected up to 12 million people by the end of 2011. However, efforts to assess the magnitude of the problem were hindered by the fact that the data captured by governments and communicated to UNHCR were limited to 3.5 million stateless individuals in 64 countries.
Almost three quarters of the refugee population under the UNHCR mandate was in a protracted situation at the end of 2011, amounting to 7.1 million people. UNHCR defines a protracted refugee situation as one in which 25,000 or more refugees of the same nationality have been in exile for five years or longer in any given asylum country.
Developing countries hosted four-fifths of the world's refugees. The 48 Least Developed Countries provided asylum to 2.3 million refugees
With close to 2.7 million refugees in 79 countries, Afghanistan remained the leading country of origin of refugees in 2011. On average, one out of four refugees in the world originated from Afghanistan, with 95 per cent of them located in Pakistan and the Islamic Republic of Iran
During the year UNHCR submitted some 92,000 refugees to States for resettlement, and close to 62,000 departed with UNHCR's assistance. According to governmental statistics, 22 countries admitted 79,800 refugees for resettlement during 2011(with or without UNHCR assistance). The United States of America received the highest number (51,500)
More than 876,100 people submitted individual applications for asylum or refugee status in 2011. UNHCR offices registered 11 per cent of these claims. With close to 107,000 asylum claims - one tenth of applications globally - South Africa was the world's largest recipient of individual applications, followed by the United States of America (76,000) and France (52,100).
Some 17,700 asylum applications were lodged by unaccompanied or separated children in 69 countries in 2011, mostly by Afghan and Somali children. The number was significantly higher than in 2010 (15,600 claims).
On average, women and girls constituted 49 per cent of persons of concern to UNHCR. They accounted for 48 per cent of refugees, and half of all IDPs and returnees (former refugees). Forty-six per cent of refugees and 34 per cent of asylum-seekers were children below 18 years of age.
Major refugee-hosting countries in 2011
- Pakistan 1,702,700
- Islamic Rep. of Iran 886,500
- Syrian Arab Rep.755,400
- Germany 571,700
- Kenya 566,500
- Jordan 451,000
- Chad 366,500
- China 301,000
- Ethiopia 288,800
- United States 264,800
Major source countries of refugees in 2011
- Afghanistan 2,664,400
- Iraq 1,428,300
- Somalia 1,077,000
- Sudan 500,000
- Dem. Rep. of the Congo 491,500
- Myanmar 414,600
- Colombia 395,900
- Viet Nam 337,800
- Eritrea 252,000
- China 205,400
Source: UNHCR Global Trends 2011, UNHCR.