This interactive map shows where US refugees have come from over the years

  • The map shows the largest group of refugees in each state since 2002.
  • The map reveals several trends, like the fact that in the early 2000s most refugees in the US were from eastern Europe.

The source of refugees to the US has shifted dramatically over the years.

A map from Pew Research Center, which shows the top countries of origin for refugees in each US state from 2002 to 2017, reveals that while the largest refugee groups in most states currently come from Africa, the Middle East, and South East Asia, most refugees arriving in the early 2000s were from eastern Europe.

In 2002, the largest refugee group in most states was either from Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, or Ukraine. Conflicts in the Balkans were likely the main contributors to this influx.

The presence of large groups of eastern European refugees continued into the mid-2000s, when refugees from Africa, Myanmar, and the Middle East overtook them as the largest refugee groups in most states. Burmese refugees continued to be the most prevalent group in most states until the 2010s, when Middle Eastern and African refugees, particularly from Iraq, again began to arrive in large numbers.

Although Syrian and Iraqi refugees have frequently taken the limelight in recent discussions about refugee resettlement, in 2017, the largest groups of refugees in most states don’t come from these countries. Most hail from sub-Saharan Africa. 

The map show several other interesting trends. In nearly all years, Cuban refugees have been the largest resettled group in Florida ever since 2002. In addition, since 2008, in several states the largest group has been refugees from Bhutan.

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