Where the Most Refugees Arriving to the US Come From

There are currently 100 million forcibly displaced people in the world, according to the United Nations. Causes for displacement include war, political violence, persecution, natural disasters, famine, and other crises. Some of these people have sought asylum or become refugees in other countries, including the United States. Since President Jimmy Carter signed the Refugee Act of 1980 into law, the U.S. has taken in over 3 million refugees from dozens of countries around the world. This is how many refugees the U.S. has accepted every year since 1980.

To find the 25 countries where the most refugees accepted by the U.S. come from (so far in 2022), 24/7 Wall St. reviewed State Department data from October 2021 to April, 30, 2022 provided by the Refugee Processing Center. We also provided several measures that reflect a country’s level of development, democracy, and peacefulness.

Refugees are defined as people who cannot return to their home country because of a “well-founded fear of persecution” due to their race, political opinion, ethnicity, religion or other group identification. Those fleeing because of extreme weather events or resource scarcity generally do not qualify as refugees.

Of the 25 countries, 10 are in Central and East Africa, five each are in Latin America and Asia, three are in the Middle East, and two are in Europe. Three of the countries (Ukraine, Moldova, and Armenia) are former Soviet republics. (In addition to refugees, the U.S. is also home to thousands of legal immigrants. Here are the countries most immigrants in the U.S. are originally from.)

In January and February, during the lead-up to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. admitted 514 Ukrainian refugees. Since then, of the 14 million people who are estimated to have fled their homes in Ukraine following the start of the Russian invasion, only a few hundred more have been resettled in the United States, making a total of 809 Ukrainian refugees so far in 2022. 

While Ukraine is fifth on the list, the top four countries that the U.S. has accepted refugees from in 2022 are Myanmar, Sudan, Syria, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. War and political upheaval are major factors in the refugee crises in each of these countries. The DRC and Sudan have faced decades of armed conflict, and Syria has been at war for 11 years and counting. In Myanmar, which is going through its own civil war, a Muslim ethnic minority, the Rohingya, have faced persecution for decades. 

Click here to see where the most refugees arriving to the US come from
Click here to see our detailed methodology

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