A visual exploratorium of refugee flows over the world using dynamic chord diagrams

Click here to look at the data visualization only.
A localized Hungarian version of this post also exists.
PREVIOUS: Refugee dynamics - what does the data say?

This post is an update on the Refugee dynamics – what does the data say? post – a data visualization that I have developed for World Refugee Day 2015. Now I have written a new data parser to directly access the UNHCR database rather than taking the afterreported data from UNDATA. This allowed me to extend the time horizon to 1951-2014 to include the latest available numbers and now the web app also includes internally displaced persons (IDPs).

I think now it has become quite a powerful tool for analyzing the refugee flows of the past half century! Other modifications I have made are that now I display the total number of displayed refugees in the center of the chord diagrams, I have included a filter to select whether we want to display the IDPs or not and now, on top of being able to set a floor for the displayed flows, you can also set a ceiling – making it possible to visualize, let’s say only refugee flows that fall between 1000 and 2000 people.

So here you go, play & enjoy!

The visual exploratorium of refugee flows over the world using dynamic chord diagrams 1.1

Briefly, the new insights are:

  • The world’s refugees total 51.6 million, when including IDPs, 12.7 without.
  • In 2014, Syria is the largest source of refugees, by far: 11.5 million people in total, out of which 7.8 million IDPs.
  • Colombia, Iraq and DRC have a huge number of IDPs (6, 3.8 and 3.3 million, respectively) – not seen on the previous version!
  • Without IDPs, Jordan is the largest host country, hosting 2.7 million refugees, 600 thousand Syrians and 2.1 million Palestinians.
  • Without UNRWA numbers (making up the bulk of the Palestinian refugees – so by filtering out Palestine from the visualization), the largest host, for the first time in history is Turkey, with 1.55 million Syrian refugees and barely surpassing Pakistan with 1.51 million Afghans.
  • Taking into account IDPs further dwarfes the flows targeted towards developed countries. Decreasing the filters by 100 to 1000 times and displaying only the flows between 2000 and 10000 refugees, the European and American flows are highlighted.
Refugee flows between 2000 and 10000 people in the year 2014
  • We can see that the developed world welcomes refugees almost equally from a number of source countries, which a different pattern from those of the developing countries – many next to the conflict-affected areas – who mainly host refugees from one or two countries – but the scale is about 10-100 times smaller

Keep exploring the web-app and let me know in the comments below if you discover something interesting! Remember, you can now go back all the way to 1951 – but data gets a bit patchier before the 70s.

This post describes an update to a web-app that I have created that visualizes refugee flows over the world using dynamic chord diagrams. You can find the data sources and methodology in the first post. This is the new IPython parser and this is the new outcome: the visual exploratorium of refugee flows over the world using dynamic chord diagrams 1.1. As always, made with d3.js. If you liked this post or have any questions or thoughts, Like, Share, Comment, and Subscribe! If you think my work is cool and you would like to support it, please consider a small Donation.


Published by Dénes Csala

AI | DATA | ENERGY | SYSTEMS researcher | thinker | modeler | blogger | traveller https://csaladen.es

7 thoughts on “A visual exploratorium of refugee flows over the world using dynamic chord diagrams

    1. So… there were no Jewish refugees in 1951 and onward, but there are still Palestinian refugees today? Interesting. I guess all the Jewish refugees just evaporated and magically found themselves citizens of other countries such as Israel, USA, Canada, France, etc.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: