The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was established on December 14, 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. The agency is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country. It also has a mandate to help stateless people. In more than five decades, the agency has helped tens of millions of people restart their lives. Today, a staff of some 6,600 people in more than 110 countries continues to help more than 36 million persons.
Statistics are part of UNHCR’s daily work. Both the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (Chapter VI, article 35: Co-operation of the national authorities with the United Nations) and the Statute of the Office (Chapter II, paragraph 8: Functions of the High Commissioner) refer to the obligation of States to report statistical data to the High Commissioner. Today, the Field Information and Coordination Support Section (FICSS) is UNHCR’s focal point for the collection, analysis and dissemination of operational data, and for technical support, including training, on related methodologies and activities.
FICSS’ website www.unhcr.org/statistics provides data, trends, an interactive data visualization platform and statistical reports on the people of concern to UNHCR: refugees, asylum-seekers, returned refugees, internally displaced persons and stateless people in more than 160 countries. This page tracks progress toward achieving lasting solutions for refugees, the scope and nature of protection activities, new outflows, the duration of refugee situations, camp locations, asylum applications and refugee status determination (RSD). Detailed information on country of asylum, origin, gender, age, location and legal status of refugees is available. Indicators on the quality of refugee protection and UNHCR operations are increasingly being collected.
Surveys, censuses and registration are the most important sources of UNHCR’s statistics. Read more on the metadata and how the Office collects its data on refugees, internally displaced persons and other persons of concern to UNHCR.
In a single electronic platform, the UNHCR Statistical Online Population Database is bringing together for analysis and comparison standardized data on UNHCR’s population of concern at country, regional, and global levels. Detailed information on country of asylum and origin is available, for some population categories going back to 1951, the year UNHCR was created.
Visualize the population statistics in the form of interactive maps, graphs and tables by regions and countries provided through the Interactive RefScout
Browse some of UNHCR’s main statistical publications and reports:
UNHCR Statistical Yearbooks
2009 Global Trends, including its main graphs and tables
Asylum levels and trends in industrialized countries, 2009
For more information on UNHCR’s statistics, please contact:
The Senior Statistician
Field Information and Coordination Support Section
Division of Programme Support and Management
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
PO Box 2500
1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland
Tel:+41 22 739 8111