Map of the Day: Refugees Accepted by US States, Population Adjusted

In 2012, more than 87,000 people were resettled as refugees or granted asylum. People from Burma, Bhutan and Iraq made up more than 70% of the refugees arriving that year. The majority of US states take in refugees each year. Roughly 1 out of ever 5 refugees end up in the giant states of Texas and California.

However, adjusting for population, California and Texas are not overburdened.

Refugees per million residents yearly, 2009-12.
Refugees per million residents yearly, 2009-12.
Casey Cupp

This map by Casey Cupp is warped to show which states take on the highest number of refugees relative to their population. For example, the densely populated New Jersey takes in a far lower rate of refugees than that of the two Dakotas. What the map shows is that the distribution of refugees looks very different when considering state populations as opposed to strictly the number of people living in each state.

HT Cherokee Gothic

Data: Migration Policy Institue


About Author

Tom Murphy

Tom Murphy is a New Hampshire-based reporter for Humanosphere. Before joining Humanosphere, Tom founded and edited the aid blog A View From the Cave. His work has appeared in Foreign Policy, the Huffington Post, the Guardian, GlobalPost and Christian Science Monitor. He tweets at @viewfromthecave. Contact him at tmurphy[at]

  • Mike Johnson

    Many refugees in large cities like Seattle are in danger of becoming homeless, because they arrive traumatized, in culture-shock, with limited social support and with very little experience in writing and reading English. Often they are placed into apartments in suburban areas where they have difficulty finding work, especially if their only work experience is in agriculture. They are only given 3 months of financial support and help from a case worker, and then they are on their own. Oh, and let’s not forget that they owe the US government $10,000 for their plane flight to the USA! I think it’s really sad that we invite them into our country and then we give them so little support when they arrive. I think it’s an absolute tragedy that we can’t take better care of our country’s newest citizens.

    If anyone is looking for a way to make a huge impact in the world, start with the refugees in your own community. Volunteer to tutor them in English, start a Kickstarter for rent money, or petition your state government for more finances. Reach out to World Relief, IRC, or CRS to ask how you can help.

    • heytrud

      NO..NO one wants new illegal alien immigrants., You invite them to live in YOUR home with YOUR family and YOUR relatives. In fact, I hope they are all sleeping on your floor as I type this out right now.

      • Farmer

        he’s their perfect enabler slave boy bleeding heart.

  • Mike Johnson

    Here is a great article about why measuring refugees in a specific region is so difficult, and why they so easily fall through the cracks.

    • heytrud

      YOU live with the illegal alines, in YOUR home. Problem solved. You take them ALL IN, right now!

    • Farmer

      we shouldn’t be accepting them in the first place.
      the UN doesn’t run our country.

  • Satan

    This map is impossible to understand. I mean, where is the color coded legend? The more orange, the higher the amount, ok. But, different colors for different areas mean “refugees” from which area. Odd.