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When the courts lose their neutrality. These forcibly displaced persons refugees and asylum seekers also cross international borders. They are considered both displaced and international migrants. This report relies on data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees that estimate the number of people who are internally displaced within their countries due to armed conflict, persecution, violations of human rights or natural disasters. This is an important group to include in the analysis of Middle East migrant populations since conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen have displaced millions of people within their countries in recent years.
The migrant share of national populations is not uniform across the Middle East.
Most of these migrants are non-displaced, international migrants. In some countries, migrants made up a much smaller share of national populations in Ever since the movement of Palestinians following the Arab-Israeli War of and establishment of the state of Israel, Palestinian refugees have lived in neighboring countries such as Jordan, Lebanon and Syria as well as within the Palestinian territories themselves.
The total Palestinian refugee population, including descendants born outside of the Palestinian territories, was estimated to be around 5.
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As of Jan. The figures in this report include these 3 million Palestinian refugees as displaced outside of their countries of birth, even though several generations of Palestinian refugees living in these countries were not born in the Palestinian territories. Palestinian refugees living within the Palestinian territories are not included in the estimates of this report. These refugees have not crossed international boundaries. UNHCR also does not consider Palestinian refugees living within the Palestinian territories to be internally displaced persons.
By the end of , the Middle East was home to about 23 million displaced migrants — or about four-in-ten of all displaced people worldwide. Many of those displaced have fled armed conflict and are living either within their birth countries or in neighboring countries.
In , Syria 7. Large numbers of displaced migrants were also living in Jordan 2.
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In , more than 6 million of the total 7. But more than a million refugees from Afghanistan also live in the Middle East, mostly in neighboring Iran. Between and , the number of non-displaced, international migrants in the Middle East increased from roughly 19 million to about 31 million.
Even as the absolute number of non-displaced, international migrants in the Middle East climbed between and , their share of all migrants in the region declined due to the surge of displaced persons. As of , the countries with the largest number of non-displaced, international migrants in the Middle East were Saudi Arabia Notably, there are indications that job growth is slowing in Persian Gulf countries as oil prices remain below recent highs.
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Thousands of migrant workers in the region are unemployed , leading to a decline in migrant remittances from the Gulf. Indeed, the situation in the Gulf helps to explain why the total value of remittances across the globe fell in for the first time since the end of the Great Recession. Israel is another top destination for non-displaced, international migrants in the Middle East.
About 2. Most displaced migrants in this report have moved due to conflict. These populations remain refugees or asylum seekers until they are permanently resettled outside of their birth countries or return to their homelands.
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