In 2018, the United Nations Refugee Agency estimated that a record 68.5 million people around the world have been forcibly displaced. More than half of those refugees are children. Prior to the current refugee crisis caused by the Syrian civil war, Afghanistan produced the world's largest refugee population for 32 consecutive years, beginning in the late 1970s with the Saur Revolution and the Soviet invasion. It is estimated that at the height of this forced exile, some 6 million Afghanis had fled their country, mostly to neighboring Pakistan and Iran.
Where people are escaping violence:
- Syria now tops the list of countries producing the most refugees, with 6.3 million Syrians having been displaced. Most have settled in neighboring countries such as Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq.
- According to the UN, Afghanistan is second on the list, with 2.6 million Afghans now living as refugees, followed by South Sudan with 2.4 million refugees, and Myanmar with 1.2 million refugees.
- Somalia is fifth on the list, with 986,400 Somali refugees. The UN has also noted an uptick in displacements from Mali and the Democratic Republic of the Congo due to new fighting there.