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Expand chart
Data: UNHCR; Note: Data does not include the 5.4 million Palestine refugees in 2017 under UNRWA’s mandate; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

As of last year, more people have been forced by violence and conflict to flee their homes than live in the U.K. or France.

Why it matters: That's upwards of 60 million people — a global nation of refugees. If all of these asylum-seekers, internally displaced people and refugees were a country, they'd be the 21st most populous nation in the world, according to UNHCR estimates. More than half of refugees are under the age of 18.

The crisis is the worst its been since World War II, and it's not getting better:

  • This population will continue to grow as violent conflicts drag on and climate change wreaks havoc.
  • Host countries and refugee camps will increasingly become permanent homes to tens of millions of refugees while many wealthy nations turn their backs.

The top five places people are running from are:

  • Syria: Where millions of people have been forced from their homes amidst internal conflict and terrorism by the Islamic State, or ISIS.
  • Afghanistan: Ongoing violence has created one of the largest, longest-lasting refugee crises.
  • South Sudan: Millions of South Sudanese have fled to Uganda and other surrounding nations as a civil war rages.
  • Myanmar: The Rohingya minority has faced deadly, violent persecution and many have fled.
  • Somalia: A combination of natural disasters and 25 years of conflict have produced hundreds of thousands of Somali refugees.

What's next:

  • Climate change is expected to create even more internally displaced people as natural disasters become more frequent and intense.
  • An anti-immigrant strain of populism has made it more difficult for international organizations and humanitarian groups to resettle and care for refugees, particularly in Europe and the U.S.
  • "That is the shift in the narrative," said Eskinder Negash, president and CEO of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants and former director of HHS's Office of Refugee Resettlement under Obama, told Axios.

The future: This crisis of displacement will have an impact on generations.

  • Many who have been displaced internally will continue to suffer from poverty and persecution inflicted by governments, extremists or natural disasters.
  • Many young refugees face a future of limited education and job opportunities, and some will grow up with mental trauma and little memory of their home countries.

Be smart: The word "refugee" is often used to describe many different types of displaced people, but it's important to understand the different terms and how they should be used.

  • Refugees have fled and found protection outside of their home nation. A multilateral UN treaty known as the 1951 Refugee Convention has established refugee rights including work, access to the courts, primary education and documentation.
  • Asylum-seekers have also fled to a new country, but their application for sanctuary there is still pending. They are not yet legally recognized as a refugee.
  • Internally displaced people have been forced to leave their homes or areas of the country, but have not crossed international borders. They are vulnerable: They are subject to the laws of their national government, even if those laws are oppressive.
  • Migrant is a general term that typically applies to anyone now residing in a nation that is not their own— regardless of legality, permanence or reason.

Go deeper:

Read the full report

Go deeper

Super typhoon Surigae explodes to Cat. 5 intensity

Super Typhoon Surigae seen on satellite imagery Saturday morning east of the Philippines. (CIRA/RAMMB)

Super Typhoon Surigae surged in intensity from a Category 1 storm on Friday to a beastly Category 5 monster on Saturday, with maximum sustained winds estimated at 190 mph with higher gusts.

Why it matters: This storm — known as Typhoon Bising in the Philippines — is just the latest of many tropical cyclones to undergo a process known as rapid intensification, a feat that studies show is becoming more common due to climate change.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

What we know about the victims of the Indianapolis mass shooting

Leaders of the Sikh Satsang of Indianapolis participate in an interview addressing their grief. Photo: Jon Cherry/Getty Images

Law enforcement in Indianapolis have identified the eight people killed in Thursday's shooting at a FedEx facility.

The big picture: The Sikh Coalition said at least four of the eight victims were members of the Indianapolis Sikh community.