Skip to navigationSkip to content

There are more people displaced by war and other conflicts than two decades ago

By Nandagopal J. Nair in Afghanistan

The number of people displaced by war and other conflicts has risen to its highest level in almost two decades. In 2012, almost 7.6 million people became newly displaced, according to UNHCR’s annual global trends report. That boils down to one new refugee or internally displaced person every 4.1 seconds. The total global refugee population increased to 45.2 million people in 2012 compared to 42.5 million the previous year.


Five war-torn countries, Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Syria and Sudan, accounted for 55% of all refugees. Afghanistan remained the world’s largest source of refugees, accounting for 25% of the displaced people worldwide.


Poorer countries are more burdened with supporting refugees. Developing countries hosted 81% of all refugees in 2012, compared with 70% a decade ago. Pakistan hosted more than 1.6 million displaced people last year, due to the steady influx of people fleeing the conflict in Afghanistan.


Photo: Faisal Mahmood/Reuters