12 Incredible Asylum Seekers USA Statistics

Regardless of your opinions on how it is being handled or should be handled, most can agree that the US is facing an immigration crisis. This crisis is largely being driven by asylum seekers who are fleeing dangerous conditions in their home countries, with many applying for asylum at the US border.

However, as the subject is incredibly politicized and polemic, it may be difficult to find impartial information on it. For that reason, we’re going to take a closer look at the latest asylum seekers USA statistics that can really help clarify the issue. We’ll examine the causes of asylum seeking, the numbers of asylum seekings for each country, the percentage of asylum seekers denied, and much more.

So, if you want to learn more about asylum seekers in the US, check out the refugee and immigration statistics below.

Fascinating US Asylum Statistics (Editor's Pick)

  • There were 63,278 asylum seekers coming to the US in 2018.
  • The majority of asylum seekers in 2019 came from the Democratic Republic of Congo. 
  • The US has capped the maximum number of refugees in 2020 to 18,000.
  • 65% of asylum cases were denied in 2018.

Asylum Statistics 2019

1. There were 63,278 asylum seekers coming to the US in 2018.

(Source: USA Today)

In the 2018 fiscal year, the US saw 63,278 people claim to be seeking asylum at the border. But this is not the number of people who were granted asylum or even the amount of people who went through the asylum court in 2018, as that process can take years.

However, this number does represent a 27% increase of people seeking entry, according to previous refugee statistics. This matches global trends of increased rates of asylum seekers.

2. The US has capped the maximum number of refugees in 2020 to 18,000.

(Source: PEW Research)

How many are granted asylum in the US?

As of September 30, 2019, the US had capped the total amount of refugees accepted into the United States to 30,000. These represent how many asylum seekers are in USA in 2019. 

However, for the fiscal year 2020, President Donald Trump’s administration has announced plans to admit no more than 18,000 refugees.

Now, this figure represents the single lowest cap on refugees admitted to the US in a single year since 1980, when the refugee resettlement program was first introduced by Congress. This shows an ongoing trend of decreases when compared to asylum statistics from previous years, too.

3. There was a 58% decrease in the number of refugees admitted in 2018.

(Source: Migration Policy Institute)

How many refugees does the US take in a year?

According to the State Department’s own statistics, only 22,491 people arrived in the US as refugees in 2018. This represents a lower number than 2019’s cap and just above the cap set for 2020.

Furthermore, this number represents a 58% decrease from the 53,716 refugees admitted in 2017. That number was a further decrease from the 84,994 refugees admitted in 2017, the last year of the Obama Administration.

4. The majority of asylum seekers in 2019 came from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

(Source: Migration Policy Institute)

This is one of the more surprising asylum seekers facts you’re likely to come across.

As it turns out, in the fiscal year 2019, nearly 13,000 refugees arrived from the Democratic Republic of Congo, making it the country of origin for the highest number of asylum seekers. DR Congo was followed by Myanmar with 4900, Ukraine with 4500, Eritrea with 1800, and Afghanistan with 1200.

However, the asylum approval rates by country do not always match up to which countries the most asylum seekers are arriving from.

5. 65% of asylum cases were denied in 2018.

(Source: America Magazine)

2018 presented a landmark figure in the history of USA asylum statistics. Throughout the year, judges decided 42,224 cases, which is 40% more than the number of cases decided in 2017. That’s an impressive asylum seekers success rate of 35%. Bear in mind that this is not strictly cases for those who sought asylum in 2018, as it can take years for a case to be heard in court.

What’s more, 2018 was the sixth year in a row when the rate of denial for asylum increased in the US. As the next stat shows, this percentage isn’t connected to the percentage of asylum seekers who attended their court date, though.

6. 98% of asylum seekers attended their court date, asylum seekers USA statistics reveal.

(Source: America Magazine)

There is some misinformation that many of the denials in the courts are caused by the fact that the immigrant is not there to make their court date. 

But that’s clearly not the case, as out of the 42,224 cases held by asylum judges in 2018, approximately 41,000 saw the immigrant present in court. Simply put, the numbers do not suggest a sizeable enough number of absent asylum seekers to make up the high rate of denial.

7. Texas receives 48% of all refugee arrivals to the US.

(Source: Migration Policy Institute)

Throughout the first seven months of 2019, Texas saw nearly half of all refugee arrivals, acting as the initial state of residence while they went through the legal process. Out of all refugees resettled, however, Texas saw only 9% or 1389 individuals, according to the latest asylum seekers USA statistics. This means that while the Lone Star State initially holds the most refugees out of any state, the vast majority of them do not stay even if their admission to the US is successful.

8. Together, Texas, Washington, New York, and California resettled around 25% of all refugees.

(Source: PEW Research)

Though Texas certainly does not resettle anywhere near the number of refugees it first receives, it’s still way ahead of any state in the country. In 2019, it resettled 2,500 refugees, while Washington resettled 1900, and New York and California 1800 each. These four states ended up provided new homes for around a quarter of all refugees in 2019, according to the latest statistics on asylum seekers.

By comparison, the District of Columbia, Delaware, and West Virginia resettled less than 10 refugees each, and both Hawaii and Wyoming settled no refugees at all in 2019.

9. Christians account for 79% of refugees arriving in 2019.

(Source: PEW Research)

Annually, the US admits more Christian refugees than those of other religions, asylum seeker stats show. The USCIS asylum statistics show 23,800 Christian refugees were admitted to the country in 2019. Meanwhile, about 4,900 Muslim refugees admitted, which is less than one-fourth of the number of Christians.

These United States asylum statistics do challenge the narrative that the US is seeing consistently more Muslim refugees, but they are a noted reversal from past years. 

10. In 2019, the US accepted over 30,000 fewer Muslim refugees than in 2016.

(Source: PEW Research)

In 2016, Muslims made up 46% of the year’s admitted refugees, reaching around 38,900. This is a record-high number, with more Muslim than Christian refugee admissions, which stood at 37,500. So, the figures for 2019 show a massive decline of over 30,000 in only three years.

11. Nearly half of all asylum seekers in 2018 were under the age of 18.

(Source: Homeland Security)

There are frequent misconceptions about the demographics of people seeking asylum in the United States. The most recent DHS stats show that in 2018, out of 22,405 counted asylum seekers, 9,722 were minors. That makes up for 43.4% of all refugee arrivals.

What’s more, 25 to 34-year-olds were the next most common age range at 17.2%, then 18 to 24-year-olds at 15.5%, and 35 to 44-year-olds, at 11.1%.

12. Roughly half of all refugee arrivals in 2019 were women.

(Source: Homeland Security)

Another misconception is that the majority of refugees are men of working age. However, the same DHS stats showed that 49.5% of refugee arrivals in the US during 2019 were women. This percentage has been consistent throughout the past few years, as well, with females making up for 50% of refugees in 2017, and 49.1% of refugees in 2016. So, the gender split is roughly down the middle, at least for the most recent years on record.

Asylum Seekers USA Statistics - photo

Key Takeaways from the US Asylum Statistics

The issue of asylum in the US is far from an easy one to cover comprehensively. The stats make clear that there is a growing problem of asylum seekers from across the globe. 

What’s more, they also highlight the fact that the current administration has been resisting that trend. As the rates of asylum seekers go up, the rates of successful asylum cases in the courts continues to go down.

Hopefully, the most recent stats have clarified the issue and cleared some of the common misconceptions about the actual facts and figures involved. Indeed, given the media fixation on asylum from South America and the Middle East, the asylum seeker statistics USA paint a very different picture.

So, which stat did you find the most revealing? Let us know in the comments below.

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