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Figures at a glance

117.3 million people worldwide were forcibly displaced

at the end of 2023 as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, human rights violations or events seriously disturbing public order.

43.4 million refugees
  • 31.6 million refugees under UNHCR’s mandate

  • 5.8 million other people in need of international protection

  • 6 million Palestine refugees under UNRWA’s mandate 

68.3 million internally displaced people
6.9 million asylum-seekers
75% hosted in low- and middle-income countries
69% hosted in neighbouring countries
Demographics of forcibly displaced people

How many refugees are there around the world?

At least 117.3 million people around the world have been forced to flee their homes. Among them are nearly 43.4 million refugees, around 40 per cent of whom are under the age of 18.

There are also millions of stateless people, who have been denied a nationality and lack access to basic rights such as education, health care, employment and freedom of movement.

At a time when more than 1 in every 69 people on Earth has been forced to flee, our work at UNHCR is more important than ever before.

UNHCR personnel

Our workforce is the backbone of UNHCR. As of 31 December 2023, we employ 20,305 people, of whom around 91 per cent are based in the field.

We work in 136 countries and territories, with personnel based in a mixture of regional and branch offices and sub and field offices. Our teams work hard to help the displaced, specializing in a wide range of disciplines, including legal protection, administration, community services, public affairs and health.

How is UNHCR funded?

We are funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions, with 80 per cent from governments and the European Union. Four per cent comes from other inter-governmental organizations and pooled funding mechanisms, while a further 15 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 US$10.929 billion in 2023. For up-to-date information about UNHCR’s financial needs visit our Global Focus website.

Our yearly budget supports continuing operations and supplementary programmes to cover emergencies, such as the conflict in Ukraine, the Sudan crisis and the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan as well as large-scale repatriation operations.

Data on forced displacement and stateless populations

We track the number of people forced to flee and use data and statistics to inform and optimize our work and the work of our partners to better protect, assist and provide solutions. This means that when a major displacement crisis erupts, we can predict how many people need help, what kind of help they need and how many staff we should deploy.

UNHCR releases two flagship statistical reports on global forced displacement each year, the Global Trends report and the Mid-Year Trends report.

The Global Trends report, released annually in June, analyses changes and trends in forcibly displaced populations in the previous calendar year (from 1 January to 31 December). It provides key statistics on the global numbers of refugees, asylum-seekers, internally displaced people and stateless people, as well as their main host countries and countries of origin. The figures on this page are based on the Global Trends report.

In October each year, the Mid-Year Trends report is released to provide updated figures and analysis for the initial six months of the current year (from 1 January to 30 June). These figures are preliminary, and the final data is included in the subsequent Global Trends report released in June of the following year.

In addition, UNHCR also releases the Global Report in June each year, providing an overview of our key results along with an analysis of UNHCR's funding and expenditure.

More UNHCR data, analysis and publications

Visit the UNHCR data page to learn more about how UNHCR collects data and access our flagship publications, data visualizations and statistical databases.

UNHCR data