Low- and middle-income countries are home to approximately 85 percent of the world’s refugees and asylum seekers. For example, as a result of the civil war in Syria, neighboring Turkey currently hosts the world’s largest refugee population of 3.5 million refugees. Sometimes these refugees live in temporary refugee camps run by host governments or the UNHCR; often they strike out on their own.
Although more than 90 percent of these refugees do not live in camps and often reside in urban areas, the 10 percent who do still make up a big number: for example, 230,000 refugees live in two dozen Turkish-run camps in which shelter, food, and other services are available.
UNHCR advises and supports the Turkish government’s refugee assistance operations by verifying the information Syrian refugees provide, giving money and supplies to those in need, and running schools for refugee children.
High-income countries receive the most asylum claims from refugees.
Although a majority of refugees and asylum seekers live in neighboring low- and middle-income countries, most refugees ultimately request asylum in high-income countries, which offer better economic prospects. Among those, Germany received the most individual asylum applications of any country in 2015 and 2016, but the United States surpassed Germany in 2017, receiving 331,659 claims.