A Decade of Internal Displacement

Conflict and natural disasters cause millions of men, women and children to leave their homes every year. In 2017, there were 30.6 million new internal displacements across 143 countries and territories. Millions more live in situations of protracted internal displacement or face chronic displacement risk.

The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on this map do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations.
Data source: IDMC.

Internal Displacement - What does it mean?

Internal displacement describes the situation of people who have been forced to leave their homes but have not left their country.

The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) has increased the scope of monitoring internal displacement, but a number of gaps remain, including limited geographic coverage. The data presented on this page are estimates.

Unevenly distributed

The global distribution of internal displacement has been uneven over the past decade. The levels of severity vary hugely between regions and countries.

Most conflict-induced displacements took place in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East over the past decade. Disaster-induced displacements were prevalent in East Asia and the Pacific, South Asia and the Americas during the same period.

In East Asia, some of the highest levels of disaster displacement came about as a result of earthquakes. The devastating 2008 Sichuan Earthquake and 2010 Yushu Earthquake in China, as well as the 311 Eastern Japan Earthquake, each displaced millions of people.

In South Asia, sudden-onset disasters during the monsoon season were the major triggers. Similarly, the Atlantic hurricane season accounted for a large percentage of displacement in the Americas.

Small-scale displacements by disaster

IDMC has monitored a steady increase of small-scale disaster-triggered events. In 2017, there were 768 events that had fewer than 5000 displacement cases, which was more than six times the number recorded in 2008.

Disasters affect high and low-income countries alike, but conflicts and violence often hit a few countries or regions the hardest. For example, Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for only 14 percent of the world's population, but almost half of new conflict-induced displacements took place in the region in 2017.

Large-scale displacements by conflict and violence

Among countries with the largest conflict displacement, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq and Syria saw more than one million new displacement cases in 2017. There was also a sharp increase in Somalia, which saw a threefold increase of the 2016 figure. In South Sudan, conflict continued to drive extreme food insecurity throughout the country, causing significant new displacements.

Find the data used in the visual above on HDX:
- New displacement associated with conflict and violence
- New displacement associated with disasters
- People displaced by conflict and violence

Note: The above text was adapted from IDMC Grid 2018 Report.