Global Trends in Forced Displacement 2022
By the end of 2022, the number of people displaced by war, persecution, violence and human rights abuses stood at a record 108.4 million, up 19.1 million on a year earlier, which was the biggest ever increase, according to the report Global Trends in Forced Displacement 2022 published by the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR in June 2023.
The upward trajectory in global forced displacement showed no sign of slowing in 2023 as the eruption of conflict in Sudan triggered new outflows, pushing the global total to an estimated 110 million by May.
Of the global total, 35.3 million were refugees, people who crossed an international border to find safety, while a greater share – 58 per cent, representing 62.5 million people – were displaced in their home countries due to conflict and violence.
The war in Ukraine was the top driver of displacement in 2022. The number of refugees from Ukraine soared from 27,300 at the end of 2021 to 5.7 million at the end of 2022 – representing the fastest outflow of refugees anywhere since World War II. Estimates for the number of refugees from Afghanistan were sharply higher by the end of 2022 due to revised estimates of Afghans hosted in Iran, many having arrived in previous years. Similarly, the report reflected upward revisions by Colombia and Peru of the numbers of Venezuelans, mostly categorised as “other people in need of international protection”; hosted in those countries.
The figures also confirmed that, whether measured by economic means or population ratios, it remains the world’s low- and middle-income countries – not wealthy states – that host most displaced people. The 46 least developed countries account for less than 1.3 per cent of the global gross domestic product, yet they hosted more than 20 per cent of all refugees. Funding for the numerous displacement situations and to support hosts lagged behind needs last year, remaining sluggish in 2023 as requirements increase.
While the total figure of displaced continued to grow, the Global Trends report also showed that those forced to flee are not condemned to exile, rather they can and do go home, voluntarily and safely. In 2022, over 339,000 refugees returned to 38 countries, and although the number was lower than the previous year, there were significant voluntary returns to South Sudan, Syria, Cameroon and Côte d’Ivoire. Meanwhile, 5.7 million internally displaced people returned in 2022, notably within Ethiopia, Myanmar, Syria, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
At the end of 2022, an estimated 4.4 million people world-wide were stateless or of undetermined nationality, two per cent more than at the end of 2021.
Read more and download the report on the UNHCR website