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August 4, 2015

The State of the World’s Refugees: The Importance of Work, Cash Assistance, and Health Insurance

Author Affiliations
  • 1Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Geneva, Switzerland
JAMA. 2015;314(5):445-446. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.8767

The number of displaced persons compelled to leave their homes or countries because of threats to their lives, security, or freedom has increased by 8.3 million to 59.5 million from 2013 to 2014, the highest level of forced displacement since World War II.1 Among these individuals, 19.5 million are refugees who fled their home countries, 38.2 million are internally displaced in their countries, and 1.7 million are asylum seekers. This increase occurred primarily from the ongoing conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Nigeria, and Pakistan. Syria now accounts for the world’s largest number of both internally displaced people (7.6 million) and refugees (3.9 million), followed by Afghanistan (2.6 million refugees) and Somalia (1.1 million refugees). One in every 122 humans is now either a refugee, internally displaced, or seeking asylum.1