MapMaker: 2020 Asylum-Seekers

MapMaker: 2020 Asylum-Seekers

An asylum-seeker is a person who has left their country and is seeking protection in another but has not yet had that country reach a decision on their status as a refugee.


5 - 12

NGS Resource Carousel Loading Logo
Loading ...

Although the terms asylum-seeker, refugee, and migrant are often used interchangeably to describe people leaving their country of origin they have specific definitions. The term migrant does not have an internationally agreed-upon definition and is generally used to describe people who leave their homes for reasons that prevent them from being classified as a refugee or asylum-seeker. A refugee is a person forced to leave their country due to persecution or because their human rights have been violated and there is a risk to their life or their safety. Refugees are entitled to protection internationally. Finally, an asylum-seeker is a person who has left their country and is seeking protection in another but has not yet had that country reach a decision on their status as a refugee. Being allowed into a country as an asylum-seeker is a human right (Article 14).

People seek asylum for a variety of reasons. They may be fleeing armed conflict; persecution due to their religious beliefs, ethnicity, sexuality, and/or political opinions; or human rights violations.

This map layer was created with data downloaded from the United Nations Refugee Agency’s Refugee Data Finder tool. As mapmakers, we made the choice to only include the five countries with the largest number of asylum seekers in 2020 and the top five places where people from those countries sought asylum.

You can help refugees and asylum-seekers in the following ways:

  • Volunteer with, fundraise for, or donate to a reputable non-profit organization that works to help asylum-seekers and refugees
  • Donate goods (household, clothing, school supplies, etc.) to people arriving in your country as refugees
  • Stay informed and advocate on behalf of asylum-seekers and refugees to your elected officials
  • Raise awareness of the issues facing asylum-seekers and refugees
  • Learn the stories of people seeking asylum
  • Welcome any refugees who have resettled in your area
Media Credits

The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited.

Sarah Appleton, National Geographic Society, National Geographic Society
GIS Specialist
McClain Martensen
Last Updated

May 6, 2024

For information on user permissions, please read our Terms of Service. If you have questions about how to cite anything on our website in your project or classroom presentation, please contact your teacher. They will best know the preferred format. When you reach out to them, you will need the page title, URL, and the date you accessed the resource.


If a media asset is downloadable, a download button appears in the corner of the media viewer. If no button appears, you cannot download or save the media.


Text on this page is printable and can be used according to our Terms of Service.


Any interactives on this page can only be played while you are visiting our website. You cannot download interactives.

Related Resources