Refugees Facts & Figures

A refugee is a person who is unable or unwilling to return to his or her home country because of a “well-founded fear of persecution” due to race, membership in a particular social group, political opinion, religion, or national origin.

United Nation Convention and Protocols


The “credible fear” test is the key that unlocks the gate to asylum and permanent residence in the US. 92% of asylums applicants pass this test. The number of individuals passing this critical test nearly tripled from 2012-2013, and has increased 600% since 2007.


There are about 59.5 million forcibly displaced people worldwide. It is estimated that 42,500 leave their homes and seek protection every day.


51% of refugees are under 18 years old.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)


There are 143 major refugee camps in the world. The average population is around 11,400 people. The largest is in Kenya which has about 153,000 people.


Refugee camps are intended to be temporary but some exist for decades, which has major implications for human rights. Some Palestinian refugee camps have existed since 1948. “Protracted refugee situations” now account for the vast majority of the world’s refugee population.


Smugglers typically charge $600-$2,500 per person for the 12 mile boat ride from Turkey to Greece.

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)


Over 40,000 people died trying to cross international borders in the past decade. Over the past 2 years an estimated 8,000 people — an average of 10  per day — have lost their lives trying to cross into the European Union — the majority drowned trying to cross the Mediterranean to seek a new life in Europe.

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)


In recent years, the US has accepted between 50,000 to 75,000 refugees per year.  Before admission to the US, each refugee undergoes an extensive interviewing, screening and security clearance process.

US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)


The number of refugees the US will allow has decreased by about 10% in recent years.

American Immigration Council


The US has seen a dramatic rise in the number of unaccompanied and separated children arriving from Central America. The total number of apprehensions of such children rose from 3,933 in 2011 to 51,705 in 2014.

US Customs & Border Protection (CBP)


More than 50% of the children cite violence as the pivotal factor that led to their flight from home. 66% of Salvadorans named violence by organized armed criminals as a primary motivation to leave. Similarly, 44% of Hondurans were either threatened with or were victims of violence by organized criminal networks.

US Customs & Border Protection (CBP)


There has been a significant increase in the number of families – almost exclusively mothers with young children — arriving at the US southern border. Correspondingly, the number of people in family units apprehended rose from 14,855 in 2013 to 68,445 in 2014.

US Customs & Border Protection (CBP)


The journey from Central America through Mexico is fraught with danger, including kidnapping, extortion, robbery and assault. 52% of refugees reported being robbed and 33% reported being extorted, primarily by criminal groups.

Washington Office on Latin America


Aid to needy refugees in the U.S. is generally limited to 8 months. The U.S. government doesn’t pay aid directly to the refugees, but gives grants to the states for refugee resettlement. In California, for example, the maximum cash payment to a single refugee is $359 per month. Refugee families with children can qualify for welfare under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and maximum levels vary widely by state. In California, one of the more generous states, the maximum for a family of three is currently $723 per month.

Refugee Programs Bureau


In 2015, the United States allocated about $3 billion (or .0818% of the US. Federal budget) for migration & refugee assistance

US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)


Click on the link below for more information regarding the refugee resettlement process in the US:

US State Department