We are now witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record.
An unprecedented 65.6 million people around the world have been forced from home. Among them are nearly 22.5 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18.
There are also 10 million stateless people who have been denied a nationality and access to basic rights such as education, healthcare, employment and freedom of movement.
In a world where nearly 20 people are forcibly displaced every minute as a result of conflict or persecution, our work at UNHCR is more important than ever before.
How we gather our data
Full-time statisticians in UNHCR's Field Information and Coordination Section track the number of people forced to flee so that when a major displacement crisis erupts, we are able to predict how many people need help, how much help they need and how many staff we must deploy.
Our staff are the backbone of UNHCR. As of 31 May 2017, we employ 10,900, of whom around 87 per cent are based in the field.
We work in 130 countries, with staff based in a mixture of regional and branch offices and sub and field offices. Our staff work hard to help the displaced, specializing in a wide range of disciplines, including legal protection, administration, community services, public affairs and health.
We are funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions, with 87 per cent from governments and the European Union. Three per cent comes from other inter-governmental organizations and pooled funding mechanisms, while a further nine per cent is from the private sector, including foundations, corporations and the public. Additionally, we receive a limited subsidy (one per cent) from the UN budget for administrative costs, and accept in-kind contributions, including items such as tents, medicines and trucks.
UNHCR was launched on a shoestring annual budget of US$ 300,000 in 1950. But as our work and size have grown, so too have the costs. Our annual budget rose to more than US$ 1 billion in the early 1990s and reached a new annual high of US$ 7.7 billion in 2017. For up to date information about UNHCR’s financial needs visit our Global Focus website.
Our yearly budget includes programmes that support continuing operations and supplementary programmes to cover emergencies, such as the Syria crisis or large-scale repatriation operations.
Statistics and operational data
Our accurate, relevant and timely data and statistics are crucial to refugee operations. This key resource is used by all partners to respond to the needs of refugee populations.
UNHCR's Statistics Database provides data, reports and other information essential for field operations. It also carries statistical reports on people of concern – refugees, asylum seekers, returned refugees, the internally displaced and stateless people. Detailed information on country of asylum, place of origin, gender, age, location and legal status of refugees is available. Indicators on the quality of refugee protection and UNHCR operations are increasingly being collected.
More figures and data sources
Global forced displacement trends
UNHCR Asylum Trends
- Asylum Levels and Trends in Industrialized Countries, 2014
- Annexes (Excel tables) available for downloading here [zip file]
- Latest monthly data [zip file]