Updated Jun 19, 2019 - Politics & Policy

Canada accepts more refugees than the U.S. for first time since 1980

Donald Trump pointing to Justin Trudeau

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Donald Trump. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Canada last year resettled more refugees than the U.S. for the first time since the creation of the Refugee Act of 1980, according to a Pew Research analysis of new UNHCR data.

The big picture: Over the course of a decade, the number of displaced people globally jumped from 43.3 million to 70.8 million according to the UNHCR report. There are more people being forced to live outside their home country as a result of persecution, conflict, violence or human rights violations than at any other time since World War II.

  • The number of refugees the U.S. accepts fell from a recent high of 97,000 in 2016 to 33,000 in 2017 to just 23,000 last year. Canada, meanwhile, resettled 28,000 — a similar total to 2017. Refugee resettlement numbers in Australia and the U.K. also fell last year.

By the numbers:

  • The U.S. received the largest number of asylum applications in the world at 254,300 in 2018, but it's not a record high. A majority came from El Salvador.
  • There were 13.6 million newly displaced people in 2018. 10.8 million were displaced internally, while 2.8 million were considered new refugees and asylum seekers.
  • 2.9 million displaced people returned to their native countries in 2018.
  • 67% of displaced refugees came from Syria (6.7 million), Afghanistan (2.7 million), South Sudan (2.3 million), Myanmar (1.1. million) and Somalia (0.9 million).
  • Turkey is home to the largest number of refugees in the world with 3.7 million. That's followed by Pakistan (1.4 million), Uganda (1.2 million), Sudan (1.1 million) and Germany (1.1 million).
  • Children under the age of 18 make up half of the global refugee population.

Go deeper: Axios' special report on the worst refugee crisis since World War II

Go deeper