Data content and structure

Data content


The data presented in this website consists of the following five datasets:

  1. UNHCR:

    1. End-year population figures - these are stock figures for specific types of populations at the end of each year, including refugees, IDPs and asylum seekers.
    2. Solutions – these are flow figures, with the total number of individuals that have availed each solution in each year.
  2. IDMC – global figures for internally displaced persons due to conflict and violence
  3. UNRWA – Palestine refugees under the mandate of UNRWA
  4. Demographics – are available for the UNHCR data, IDMC and UNRWA data. No demographics are available for resettlement and naturalization data

Data structure


All data is disaggregated by year, type of population, country/territory of asylum and origin. Note that the term country/territory of asylum has a range of contexts depending on the dataset chosen:

  1. Resettlement – in this context this is the country of arrival – i.e. the country to which a refugee has been resettled
  2. Returns – in this context this is the country of departure – i.e. the country from which a refugee has voluntarily repatriated.

Each variable has the following possible values:

  1. Year is an integer between 1951 and 2019
  2. Population types are expressed in the data as follows:

    • REF – Refugee
    • ROC – People in refugee-like situation
    • ASY – Asylum seekers
    • VDA – Venezuelans displaced abroad
    • IDP – Internally displaced persons
    • IOC – People in IDP-like situation
    • STA – Stateless persons
    • OOC – Others of concern
  3. Solutions are expressed in the data as codes as follows:

    • RET – Returned refugees
    • RST – Resettled refugees
    • NAT – Naturalized refugees
    • RDP – Returned IDPs
  4. Country/territory of asylum and origin – the full list of UN countries is available on the UNSD methodology page . ISO3 country codes are included. UNHCR uses the following non-standard ISO3 country codes:

    • UNK for Various/unknown
    • STA for Stateless

In the asylum applications and decisions datasets, the following parameters have these values:

  • Authority - one of:

    • G – Government
    • J – Joint
    • U – UNHCR
  • For asylum applications, the stage of procedure is one of:

    • N - New applications
    • R - Repeat applications
    • A - Appeal applications
    • NA - New and appeal applications: where the data was provided together
    • NR - New and repeat applications: where the data was provided together
    • FA - First and appeal applications: used by France in 2006, Israel in 2007 and Chad in 2017
    • J - Judiciary: applications are at the Judicial level.
    • BL - Backlog: Repeat applications processed during specific events to reduce the backlog in cases. Used by Italy in 2007 and South Africa in 2008
    • SP - Subsidiary protection: used prior to the inclusion of subsidiary protection in Europe. Used by Belgium in 2008 and Ireland in 2011
  • For asylum decisions, the stage of procedure is one of:

    • NA - New Applications
    • FI - First instance decisions
    • AR - Administrative Review decisions
    • RA - Repeat/reopened applications
    • IN - US Citizenship and Immigration Services
    • EO - US Executive Office of Immigration Review
    • JR - Judicial Review
    • SP - Subsidiary protection
    • FA - First instance and appeal
    • TP - Temporary protection
    • TA - Temporary asylum. Used in the Russian Federation
    • BL – Backlog: Repeat applications processed during specific events to reduce the backlog in cases. Used by the UK in 2000, Italy in 2007 and South Africa in 2008
    • TR - Temporary leave to remain outside the asylum procedure
    • CA - Cantonal regulations in Switzerland
  • Data type – one of:

    • P – Persons
    • C – Cases

In the demographic data, the following parameters have these values:

  • Location – the textual description of the location. Since 2010, locations have additional metadata appended after a ":" indicating the type of location (e.g. a point, region or country).
  • Urban / Rural – an indication of whether the location is urban or rural. An urban location is classified as a settlement with more than 5,000 inhabitants. It can be one of the following values:

    • C – Camp. Note that C was discontinued after 2010, at which point the accommodation type became available
    • U – Urban
    • R – Rural
    • V – Various/unknown
  • Accommodation Type became available in 2010 but is only populated from 2012. The code represents one of:

    • I - Individual accommodation
    • S - Self-settled camp
    • P - Planned/managed camp
    • C - Collective centre
    • R - Reception/transit camp
    • U - Undefined


Data protection


Before publishing any statistics on the refugee statistics website, UNHCR applies safeguards to protect confidentiality. Small numbers less than five are rounded to the nearest multiple of five. Additionally data relating to asylum decisions is rounded between five and ten.

Data between tables remains additive therefore the totals should be considered approximations.