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Record: 110 million refugees and displaced persons in 2022, says UNHCR

Venezuela had the world's fourth largest displaced or refugee population, following Syria, Ukraine and Afghanistan.

Hombre parado en campo de refugiados en Grecia.


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The year 2022 saw the steepest one-year increase in displaced persons, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). Nineteen million people were forced to flee their homes last year, bringing the total number of displaced people to 110 million.

A report from Global Trends details that the war in Ukraine was one of the main factors, closing 2022 with 11.6 million people displaced. Of these, 5.9 million moved within the invaded country, while 5.7 million crossed its borders.

The conflict that started in Sudan last April between the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and the Sudanese Army also led to a significant increase the number of forced displacements.

One in 74 people on the planet has been forced to flee by 2022 - UNHCR.

Where do the displaced people go?

The UNHCR document revealed that the majority of international displaced persons do not travel long distances: 70% settled in nations neighboring those of their origin.

They also tend to be located in low- and middle-income countries. Seventy-six percent relocated to such countries, compared to 24 percent who moved to high-income countries.

Taking this data into account, Turkey became the largest host of international displaced persons at the end of 2022, receiving almost all of its migrants from neighboring Syria. Iran, Colombia, Germany and Pakistan followed.

However, it is important to note that the majority of displaced persons do not leave their country of origin. 58% remained in their own nation at the end of 2022. Last year, 28 million people joined this group of internally displaced persons.

Among the reasons that forced citizens to move within their own country, the report cites armed conflicts, such as those in Ethiopia and Myanmar, and natural disasters, which produced a total of 32 million displacements.

Asylum applications

The United States received the most individual asylum applications in the world. In total, 730,400 of the 2.6 million asylum applications processed over the past year were in the U.S., almost four times more than in 2021.

It is followed by Germany (217,800 applications), Costa Rica (129,500), Spain (118,800) and Mexico (118,800). More than half of all individual asylum applications were concentrated in these five countries.

The document also explains that the United States rushed the decision to admit or deny such requests, increasing "substantive decisions" by 59% over 2019. Although, in the same period, asylum requests increased nearly threefold.

The U.S. was one of the countries where the number of pending cases increased the most, along with Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom.


The South American country that saw the most citizens flee was, once again, Venezuela. It was the source of the fourth-most refugees or displaced persons in the world.

Venezuela ranks third in displaced persons per 100,000 inhabitants. It is surpassed only by Syria, which tops the list, and South Sudan. Following these countries are Ukraine and Eritrea, in that order.

Likewise, Venezuelans have issued the most asylum requests. The 264,000 applications filed by Venezuelans in 2022 represent an increase of 186% over the previous year. It is followed by Cuba (165,800 applications), Colombia (90,500), Honduras (79,700) and Haiti (73,500).

These data reveal an alarming fact for the continent: 42% of new asylum applications were submitted by Latin America and the Caribbean.

Read the full report

Forced displacement continued to increase in 2023, so UNHCR experts expect the overall figure to exceed the ceiling of 110 million people by May.

Global Trends by Santiago Adolfo Ospital