Asylum seekers in Europe 2014/15

2,500 people are believed to have died or gone missing on their way to Europe this year already, according to estimates by UNHCR. But it was the image of a young boy found dead on the shores of Turkey which changed the tone in the debate about the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe. While the response to the crisis varies strongly, Campaign groups are calling for a European-wide approach to the crisis. While Germany suspended the Dublin regulation to allow regugees into the country and claim asylum regardless of where they entered the European Union, the country also calls for a more equitable system of sharing refugees across the EU similar to Germany’s domestic approach of distributing refugees.
The following cartogram shows the current situation in Europe using Eurostat’s latest statistics about the number of asylum applicants in each country. The data covers the first half of 2015 (January to June) and adds up to 417,430 officially recorded claims in that period in the EU member states. The following map also includes those European countries which are not member of the European Union but part of the Schengen area and it shows each country resized according to the absolute number of asylum applications in that country from January to June 2015:

Asylum Applicants in Europe 2015
(click for larger version)

Also included in this cartogram is a reference map that shows the population distribution in Europe – which differs significantly from the main map. In 2014, Germany had the largest absolute number of asylum seekers (as also shown in the map below) in Europe (more than 200,000 compared to over 80,000 of second-ranked Sweden), while the relative distribution saw Sweden on top with 8,365 asylum applicants per 1 million population (Germany: 2,513), Hungary coming second with 4,337 asylum applicants per 1 million population not least due to its geographic location on some of the most frequently used migration routes into Europe. Other populous countries saw much lower figures, such as 972 asylum applicants per 1 million population in France and 494 asylum applicants per 1 million population in the UK.
Last year EU countries offered asylum to 184,665 refugees, while according to Eurostat more than 570,000 migrants applied for asylum. This is a map the situation in 2014, showing the distribution of asylum applicants in Europe:

Asylum Applicants in Europe 2014
(click for larger version)

To put these numbers into perspective, the number of refugees heading for Europe is small compared to the global picture that UNHCR published in its Global refugee trends earlier this year: Around the world, almost 60 million have been displaced by conflict and persecution last year. Nearly 20 million of them are refugees. Lebanon alone houses far more than a million Syrian refugees, a number that is higher than the whole number of refugees expected to arrive in all European nations put together.
While European leaders fail to find a joint – and humane – approach, citizen have started to take action, such as an internet platform dubbed as AirBNB for refugees in Germany and a Facebook campaign in Iceland where “more than 11,000 families in Iceland have offered to open their homes to Syrian refugees in a bid to raise the government’s cap of just 50 asylum seekers a year”.

More migration-related maps from this website can be found here:

  • Global refugee trends: showing countries or origin and destination as documented in the most recent UNHCR report
  • Migrants at Sea: A look at where Mediterranean refugees arrived in Europe between 2006 and 2014
  • Displaced lifes: Internally displaced people

The colours in the above maps are using a colour scheme developed for the Social Atlas of Europe. Each country shown has a unique colour which allows it to be identified in the differently distorted maps. Furthermore, all countries in these maps are shaded using a rainbow colour scheme, starting with shades of dark red to demarcate the countries with the most recent association with the EU and moving through to a shade of violet for the oldest member states.

The Social Atlas of Europe
The Social Atlas of Europe
by Dimitris Ballas, Danny Dorling, Benjamin Hennig

Published by Policy Press
[Oder your copy here]

The content on this page has been created by Benjamin Hennig using data by Eurostat. Please contact me for further details on the terms of use.

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