Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Ignoring the World's Refugees


The world is suffering from a huge refugee crisis. The UN refugee agency says there are more than 25 million refugees in the world. It isn't exactly a global crisis. The reason why it isn't a global crisis is because countries in the developed world are doing very little to help. In fact about 85 percent of those 25 million refugees are being helped by low and middle-income countries.

The Center for Global Development has created an interactive map visualizing refugee numbers in 31 of the 37 developing countries hosting at least 25,000 refugees. You can click on individual countries on the map to view the total number of refugees living in the country. The map was created to show how many refugees are living near urban job opportunities but it also (inadvertently) provides a good visualization of many of the developing countries who are housing the world's refugees.


Google's EarthTime application recently released two animated visualizations showing the movement of refugees around the world. The Global Refugee Crisis: A System Overburdened also shows how poorer countries are facing the biggest burden from the current refugee crisis. It uses the example of Syria where over half of the population has been displaced, either internally or externally. Of those that have moved abroad most have moved to neighboring Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey or Iraq.

Another Google EarthTime visualization The Global Refugee Crisis: The Big Picture shows a similar story across the world. From Afghanistan to the Central African Republic and from Colombia to Iraq, when disaster hits and people are forced to flee their home countries it is neighboring countries which take in the most refugees. Countries which are themselves usually in the developing world

The World Bank has also created an interactive showing the number of refugees living in each country. The Refugee Population by Country or Territory of Asylum uses data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to visualize how many refugees lived in a country in each year from 1990-2016. Again the map reveals that countries in the developed world have taken in the least refugees. For example in 2016 the USA had a refugee population of around 273,000. In the same year Jordan and Turkey both had refugee populations of over 2,800,0000.
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