Where do 700,000 displaced Syrians go? An interactive map

The world population of refugees grew by nearly 100,000 people in 2012, according to detailed data the United Nations released last week, an increase driven in large part by the crisis in Syria. Separate conflicts in Mali and the Democratic Republic of the Congo combined to make 2012 the worst year for refugees in two decades.

Even this stark figure is misleading, however, because of a grim irony in the data: Of the more than 1 million people who fled Syria last year, about a quarter were existing refugees from Iraq returning to their native country. These Iraqis returning to their home country partly offset the 728,500 new refugees from Syria in the total figure reported by the U.N.

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Turkey hosts the largest population of Syrian refugees with nearly 250,000, followed by Lebanon and Jordan. All told, Syria is now the country with the fourth-most total refugees—defined as those living outside their home country for fear of persecution—behind Afghanistan, Somalia and Iraq.

In the interactive map above, you can see where each country’s refugees are currently residing by clicking on that country or selecting it from the menu. To flip the scales and see which countries’ refugees are currently in a particular nation, switch the blue button from “Origin” to “Host.” By default, every nation is shaded according to the number of refugees originating there.

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