Asylum Seekers Across the Globe From 1999 - 2015

Between 2013 and 2015 nearly 700,000 Syrians have sought asylum (UNHCR).  In that time period the United States has accepted hundreds of asylum seekers while Germany has accepted over 145,000. Sweden has accepted over 84,000. 

I was curious about  the scale, scope and path of asylum seekers around the world, especially in the last few years.

I downloaded data from the UNHCR website ( and using Tableau did some visualization to better understand the data. I chose the dataset for "asylum seekers" as it was the most recently updated, but if you look at "persons of concern" data the numbers are even starker ( . Here is a link to donate to the UNHCR -

Looking at the Asylum data, here are 4 things that stood out to me - 

1. Since 2013, the US has resettled about 80,000 asylum seekers with a majority coming from Mexico, China, and India. Only 305 from Syria. 

2. Germany has accepted nearly 600,000 asylum seekers since 2013, with 145,000 coming from Syria. 

3. Of the 1.2 million global asylum seekers between 2013 and 2015, a majority are from Syria, Afghanistan or Iraq. In 2015, the largest amount of asylum seekers came from Syria but Afghanistan saw the largest year over year increase in Asylum seekers. 

4. Looking at resettlement patterns, Iraqis since 2013 have largely gone to Turkey (44% of resettlement), while Afghans have resettled in Serbia (26%), and Syrians are resettling in Germany (22%), Serbia (30%) or Sweden (13%)

The  media (at least the media I consume), when covering the refugee crisis focuses on the debates happening in Western Europe and the political, social, and economic impact that asylum seekers are having on countries like Germany, France, Sweden, Greece and Denmark. You hear very little about Turkey or Serbia, which are resettling a lot of people seeking asylum. 

Daniel Prager