Facts and Stats: Refugees of the world

A boat of  Italian Cost Guards approaches Lampedusa's quay to disembark 142 migrants, including 30 women and 3 children, coming from Tripoli (2011). Photo: UNHCR / F. Noy

A boat of Italian Cost Guards approaches Lampedusa’s quay to disembark 142 migrants, including 30 women and 3 children, coming from Tripoli (2011). Photo: UNHCR / F. Noy

After the horrible accident next to Lampedusa, the EU will discuss its refugee policy, calming down the public, showing that it „does“ something and then return back to normal, when everyone has forgotten the drowned humans and speaks about the new warning signs on the cigarette packages.

Especially Germany doesn’t want to change anything, since – according to inner security minister Hans-Peter Friedrich (source in German) – it already takes in the highest amount of refugees in the EU. He is right with that, but only in absolute numbers: When you go by refugees by 1,000 inhabitants, acccording to numbers from 2011 of the UN refugee agency UNHCR, Germany comes fourth with a ratio of 7,0. First is Malta (16,7), then comes Sweden (9,2) and Norway (8,3). This is still alright, since I guess there is a „small country bias“ or something in there (statistician nerds, help!), but it really boils down to the question: Who do you compare yourself to?

When you look at the world OUTSIDE of Europe, even Malta only comes eighth. Here is the Top 100 of refugees to 1,000 inhabitants, taken from the annex of the UNHCR Statistical Yearbook 2011 (zipped xls file, 602kb, table 24):

Rank  Country Ratio
                      1 Jordan 72,9
                      2 Syrian Arab Rep. 37,0
                      3 Congo, Rep. of 34,9
                      4 Chad 32,6
                      5 Liberia 32,1
                      6 Djibouti 22,9
                      7 Montenegro 20,4
                      8 Malta 16,7
                      9 Kenya 14,0
                    10 Iran (Islamic Rep. of) 12,0
                    11 South Sudan 10,2
                    12 Pakistan 9,8
                    13 Sweden 9,2
                    14 Yemen 8,9
                    15 Ecuador 8,5
                    16 Norway 8,3
                    17 Mauritania 7,7
                    18 Serbia (and Kosovo: S/RES/1244 (1999)) 7,2
                    19 Venezuela (Bolivarian Rep. of) 7,0
                    20 Germany 7,0
                    21 Switzerland 6,6
                    22 Luxembourg 5,6
                    23 Austria 5,6
                    24 Israel 5,6
                    25 Gambia 5,5
                    26 Rwanda 5,2
                    27 Guinea-Bissau 5,2
                    28 Cameroon 5,1
                    29 Panama 4,9
                    30 Canada 4,9
                    31 Netherlands 4,5
                    32 Costa Rica 4,3
                    33 Burundi 4,3
                    34 Uganda 4,2
                    35 Sudan 4,1
                    36 Central African Rep. 3,8
                    37 Zambia 3,5
                    38 Ethiopia 3,5
                    39 France 3,4
                    40 Togo 3,2
                    41 Cyprus 3,2
                    42 United Kingdom 3,1
                    43 Malaysia 3,1
                    44 United Rep. of Tanzania 2,9
                    45 Algeria 2,7
                    46 Namibia 2,7
                    47 Liechtenstein 2,6
                    48 Nepal 2,4
                    49 Denmark 2,4
                    50 Dem. Rep. of the Congo 2,3
                    51 Lebanon 2,1
                    52 Belgium 2,1
                    53 Ireland 1,9
                    54 Bosnia and Herzegovina 1,8
                    55 Finland 1,7
                    56 Guinea 1,7
                    57 Senegal 1,7
                    58 Botswana 1,7
                    59 Libya 1,6
                    60 Bangladesh 1,6
                    61 Sierra Leone 1,4
                    62 Papua New Guinea 1,4
                    63 Thailand 1,3
                    64 Côte d’Ivoire 1,2
                    65 Gabon 1,2
                    66 Egypt 1,2
                    67 South Africa 1,2
                    68 Kyrgyzstan 1,1
                    69 Iraq 1,1
                    70 Monaco 1,1
                    71 Australia 1,1
                    72 Mali 1,0
                    73 Italy 1,0
                    74 Armenia 0,9
                    75 Eritrea 0,9
                    76 United States of America 0,9
                    77 Angola 0,9
                    78 Benin 0,8
                    79 Bulgaria 0,8
                    80 Swaziland 0,6
                    81 Ghana 0,6
                    82 The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 0,6
                    83 Hungary 0,5
                    84 Tajikistan 0,5
                    85 New Zealand 0,4
                    86 Malawi 0,4
                    87 Poland 0,4
                    88 Tunisia 0,4
                    89 Zimbabwe 0,4
                    90 Belize 0,3
                    91 Lithuania 0,3
                    92 Czech Rep. 0,2
                    93 Somalia 0,2
                    94 China 0,2
                    95 Turkey 0,2
                    96 Azerbaijan 0,2
                    97 Croatia 0,2
                    98 Iceland 0,2
                    99 Mozambique 0,2
                  100 Bahrain 0,2

Germany is at place 20 which is still not that bad either, especially compared to France (39th) or Italy (73rd).

But let’s look at one last statistic. Refugees to GDP per capita (for the nerds: in PPP). It basically measures the wealth of a country – in relation to its population – to the amount of refugees it takes. From the same source as above, here are the Top 100:

Rank  Country Ratio
                      1 Pakistan 605,0
                      2 Dem. Rep. of the Congo 398,9
                      3 Kenya 321,3
                      4 Liberia 289,7
                      5 Ethiopia 252,5
                      6 Chad 210,5
                      7 Syrian Arab Rep. 143,0
                      8 Bangladesh 121,0
                      9 Uganda 100,5
                    10 United Rep. of Tanzania 92,1
                    11 Yemen 89,1
                    12 Jordan 75,6
                    13 Iran (Islamic Rep. of) 66,2
                    14 Burundi 57,7
                    15 Nepal 57,6
                    16 Sudan 53,7
                    17 India 50,9
                    18 Rwanda 43,0
                    19 Cameroon 41,6
                    20 China 35,7
                    21 Congo, Rep. of 31,3
                    22 Zambia 27,3
                    23 Central African Rep. 20,2
                    24 Togo 18,1
                    25 Venezuela (Bolivarian Rep. of) 15,7
                    26 Germany 15,2
                    27 Egypt 14,9
                    28 Guinea 14,5
                    29 Ecuador 14,0
                    30 Mali 13,4
                    31 Côte d’Ivoire 13,3
                    32 Mauritania 12,9
                    33 Algeria 12,7
                    34 Thailand 10,3
                    35 Senegal 10,2
                    36 Zimbabwe 9,4
                    37 Sierra Leone 9,3
                    38 Serbia (and Kosovo: S/RES/1244 (1999)) 8,8
                    39 Iraq 8,7
                    40 Djibouti 8,1
                    41 Malawi 6,8
                    42 Eritrea 6,1
                    43 Guinea-Bissau 6,1
                    44 France 6,0
                    45 Malaysia 5,5
                    46 United States of America 5,4
                    47 United Kingdom 5,3
                    48 South Africa 5,2
                    49 Gambia 4,7
                    50 Ghana 4,4
                    51 Benin 4,4
                    52 Canada 4,0
                    53 Mozambique 4,0
                    54 Papua New Guinea 3,8
                    55 Nigeria 3,4
                    56 Afghanistan 3,2
                    57 Angola 2,7
                    58 Kyrgyzstan 2,5
                    59 Sweden 2,1
                    60 Italy 1,9
                    61 Netherlands 1,8
                    62 Libya 1,7
                    63 Costa Rica 1,7
                    64 Tajikistan 1,4
                    65 Israel 1,3
                    66 Panama 1,2
                    67 Switzerland 1,1
                    68 Montenegro 1,1
                    69 Austria 1,1
                    70 Turkey 1,0
                    71 Namibia 0,9
                    72 Bosnia and Herzegovina 0,8
                    73 Poland 0,8
                    74 Norway 0,8
                    75 Lebanon 0,6
                    76 Belgium 0,6
                    77 Australia 0,6
                    78 Armenia 0,5
                    79 Ukraine 0,4
                    80 Tunisia 0,4
                    81 Bulgaria 0,4
                    82 Burkina Faso 0,4
                    83 Niger 0,4
                    84 Brazil 0,4
                    85 Denmark 0,4
                    86 Viet Nam 0,3
                    87 Malta 0,3
                    88 Hungary 0,3
                    89 Finland 0,3
                    90 Russian Federation 0,2
                    91 Botswana 0,2
                    92 Indonesia 0,2
                    93 Ireland 0,2
                    94 Argentina 0,2
                    95 Azerbaijan 0,2
                    96 Cyprus 0,2
                    97 Morocco 0,2
                    98 Swaziland 0,1
                    99 Bolivia (Plurinational State of) 0,1
                  100 Spain 0,1

Pakistan jumps from place 12 to the top position, and the population rich but (still) money poor India jumps the ladder from rank 101 to 17. Similar thing for China which goes up from place 94 to place 20. Little Malta on the other hand falls from rank 8 to 87, and the social-democratic Sweden drops from 13 to 59. Germany loses six ranks and comes 26th, France falls from 39 to 44. Italy on the other hand makes up some places and climbs from 73 to 60. If you wonder where Greece is: Place 102 by 1,000 inhabitants and place 113 by wealth.

It is a pity that the EU-28 or the Eurozone is not listed as a single country in the list, and I’m too tired to calculate it now. But what it shows is that some of the poorest countries in the world take up alot more refugees than the rich European countries do. Of course, they get some help by the UN and the camps are mostly even worse than in Europe, but still: If they can, why can’t we?

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