Pew: U.S. Settled More Refugees in 2017 Than Any Other Nation

Syrian refugee Morad Alteibawi, left, talks to his 4-year-old daughter, Roma, as his wife Ola Alteibawi listens to United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power speaks at Seton Hall University, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016, in South Orange, N.J. Power said the president's foreign policy has successfully engaged foes and galvanized allies to …
AP/Julio Cortez

The United States settled 33,000 refugees in 2017, significantly more than any other country in the world, the Pew Research Center revealed in a report this week.

The country settling the next highest number of refugees last year was Canada, which settled 20 percent fewer than the U.S. (27,000), followed by Australia (15,000) and the United Kingdom (6,000). Sweden, Germany, Norway, and France each resettled about 3,000 refugees, Pew found in its analysis Thursday of new data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Historically, the United States has taken in the lion’s share of refugees, and since 1980 has settled some three quarters of the more than 4 million refugees resettled worldwide. In 2017, U.S. refugee resettlement accounted for nearly a third (32 percent) of all refugees resettled throughout the world.

The Pew report noted that global resettlement of refugees saw a significant decrease in 2017, dropping from 189,000 refugees resettled in 2016 to 103,000 refugees in 2017. Despite its own sharp one-year decline in refugee resettlement—from 97,000 to 33,000—the U.S. still managed to resettle more refugees (33,000) than any other country.

While the decline in refugee resettlement included decreases in other leading countries such as Canada and Australia, the number of refugees resettled in the United States decreased more than in any other country in 2017.

Until this year, the United States has always resettled more refugees each year than all the other countries in the world combined, Pew noted.

Refugee resettlement refers to a very specific group of migrants, Pew said, namely those who enter their destination country after obtaining legal permission to do so, having applied for refugee status while in another country. It does not include other sorts of migrants or asylum seekers.

According to UNHCR, the global refugee population reached a record 19.9 million in 2017, growing by 2.75 million over the previous year.

Only about a third of the 68.5 displaced persons in the world (2017) are refugees, with the majority being internally displaced people (IDPs) who have been displaced within their home country. The number of IDPs reached about 40 million in 2017.

Regarding countries of origin, Pew noted that more than half (56%) of refugees resettled worldwide came from nations in the Middle East-North Africa region, mostly from Syria. Roughly a quarter (23 percent) were from sub-Saharan Africa, and another 15 percent were citizens of Asian countries.

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