This Map Shows How Large Europe’s Refugee Crisis Really Is

Data visualization company Lucify used U.N. statistics to show the recent mass movement of people to the continent.

Migrants try to enter a camp after crossing the Greek border into Macedonia, a key transit country in the Balkans migration route into the EU. (Photo: Robert Atanasovski/Getty Images)

Oct 28, 2015· 1 MIN READ
Culture and education editor Liz Dwyer has written about race, parenting, and social justice for several national publications. She was previously education editor at Good.

It’s been called the largest humanitarian crisis in Europe since World War II. But while the stories of people fleeing violence and oppression have shocked the world, grasping the scale of the number of migrants seeking asylum on the continent can be difficult.

That’s where Lucify, a data visualization company based in Helsinki, hopes to help. The company used data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on the origin and destination of all the refugees in its database over three years to create an interactive graphic of the mass movement of people into Europe.

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“We aimed to convey the magnitude of the crisis in a way that is intuitive, memorable, and engaging,” the company wrote in a post on Medium. To that end, Lucify accessed the UNHCR’s monthly counts of new asylum seekers from the start of 2012 to the end of September 2015. Although the refugee crisis is global, the visualization focuses on people heading to Europe because the company wasn’t able to find reliable data on migration to countries outside the continent.

By sliding the time counter on the graphic to specific months over the past three years, users can see the uptick in migration in 2015. They can also hover over a country to see how many people have departed from it and where they’ve gone.

The interactive graphic doesn’t include the mass movement of people from Syria into Turkey. But Lucify wrote that it couldn’t represent that migration because “the two million Syrian refugees in Turkey are not counted as asylum seekers, but [as] registered refugees. While the UNHCR publishes some data about registered refugees, it is not as comprehensive as with asylum seekers.”

On Tuesday, David Miliband, the head of the International Rescue Committee, told The Associated Press that there are more Syrian refugees in Istanbul—366,000—than in all the rest of Europe.

Although the migration from Syria has dominated the news, with 20 million refugees in the world—and another 30 million displaced within their own countries—it’s clear that people are fleeing war, sectarian violence, and oppression in many places.