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Where refugees in Iowa are arriving from

Written by:
July 11, 2024
Robsonphoto // Shutterstock

Where refugees in Iowa are arriving from

During the past five decades, the U.S. has resettled over 3 million refugees, making it one of the leading countries for finding new homes for people fleeing violence, persecution, and war.

In 2021, then-President Donald Trump lowered the annual cap of refugees that could be admitted into the country to 15,000. Even as the Biden administration has raised the ceiling to 125,000, the annual number of refugees arriving in the U.S. didn't immediately bounce back to pre-Trump administration levels. The numbers are increasing though, with over 25,000 refugees arriving in the U.S. in the 2022 fiscal year, twice the 2021 total.

Refugee arrivals during the 2023 fiscal year dramatically outpaced the prior two years, reaching over 60,000 from October 2022 to September 2023.

In June 2024, the greatest number of refugees admitted by the U.S. came from Venezuela, Afghanistan, and Congo. Each nation faces a unique set of circumstances that can make their citizens unsafe if they stay in their home country.

In Venezuela, over 7.5 million people have left the country due to extreme inflation, violence, food and medicine scarcity, and other factors. Most have resettled in Latin American and Caribbean countries. Afghan refugees have been fleeing to neighboring countries for decades, especially to Pakistan and Iran, which combined host over 8 million Afghans. For the last three decades, Congo, also called the Democratic Republic of Congo, has been struggling with a series of civil wars and internal battles that have left millions of people displaced, both internally and externally, with many people fleeing to neighboring countries.

Stacker referenced data from the Refugee Processing Center to compile statistics on the number of refugees and their countries of origin resettled in Iowa in June 2024. Countries with only one refugee since October 2023 are not included.

June refugee statistics
Countries where refugees arrived from in June
To Iowa:
#1. Congo: 48
#2. Venezuela: 31
#3. Somalia: 28
#4. Nicaragua: 17
#5. Afghanistan: 14
#6. Burundi: 9
#7. Eritrea: 7
#7. Sudan: 7
#9. Guatemala: 6
#10. Myanmar: 4
#10. Republic of South Sudan: 4
#12. Cambodia: 3
#13. Cuba: 1

To the U.S. as a whole:
#1. Venezuela: 1,163
#2. Afghanistan: 1,093
#3. Congo: 615
#4. Syria: 422
#5. Somalia: 403

States that accepted the most refugees in June:
#1. Texas: 619
#2. California: 370
#3. New York: 355
#4. Florida: 339
#5. Arizona: 243

Read on to see the countries that Iowa has accepted the most refugees from since the start of the fiscal year in October 2023.

Woman carries basket through street in Bukavu
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Katja Tsvetkova // Shutterstock

#1. Congo

Refugees that arrived from Congo since October 2023
To Iowa: 853

To the U.S. as a whole: 15,226
Top states receiving refugees from Congo
#1. Texas: 1,392
#2. Kentucky: 1,286
#3. Arizona: 1,050
#4. New York: 1,002
#5. Ohio: 966

People buying spices at a street market in Damascus
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hanohiki // Shutterstock

#2. Syria

Refugees that arrived from Syria since October 2023
To Iowa: 132

To the U.S. as a whole: 8,653
Top states receiving refugees from Syria
#1. New York: 857
#2. Michigan: 806
#3. Pennsylvania: 640
#4. Texas: 510
#5. California: 479

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Chantal de Bruijne // Shutterstock

#3. Myanmar

Refugees that arrived from Myanmar since October 2023
To Iowa: 110

To the U.S. as a whole: 5,034
Top states receiving refugees from Myanmar
#1. Texas: 581
#2. Illinois: 545
#3. New York: 492
#4. Wisconsin: 369
#5. Georgia: 362

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Dave Primov // Shutterstock

#4. Eritrea

Refugees that arrived from Eritrea since October 2023
To Iowa: 98

To the U.S. as a whole: 1,613
Top states receiving refugees from Eritrea
#1. Washington: 162
#1. Texas: 162
#3. North Carolina: 104
#4. Iowa: 98
#5. Ohio: 97

Muslim woman in hijab waking on streets of Hargeisa
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Dave Primov // Shutterstock

#5. Somalia

Refugees that arrived from Somalia since October 2023
To Iowa: 94

To the U.S. as a whole: 3,185
Top states receiving refugees from Somalia
#1. Minnesota: 959
#2. Ohio: 219
#3. New York: 208
#4. Arizona: 171
#5. Missouri: 150

Afghan women in burkas pass by a man outside a market
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Canva

#6. Afghanistan

Refugees that arrived from Afghanistan since October 2023
To Iowa: 89

To the U.S. as a whole: 9,974
Top states receiving refugees from Afghanistan
#1. California: 2,006
#2. Texas: 1,012
#3. Virginia: 854
#4. Washington: 605
#5. New York: 462

An aerial view of caracas, Venezuela.
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Canva

#6. Venezuela

Refugees that arrived from Venezuela since October 2023
To Iowa: 89

To the U.S. as a whole: 5,616
Top states receiving refugees from Venezuela
#1. Florida: 933
#2. Texas: 802
#3. Illinois: 352
#4. Georgia: 253
#5. North Carolina: 204

Many people on a dirt street in Shendi
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Matyas Rehak // Shutterstock

#8. Sudan

Refugees that arrived from Sudan since October 2023
To Iowa: 73

To the U.S. as a whole: 1,544
Top states receiving refugees from Sudan
#1. New York: 134
#2. Ohio: 118
#3. Texas: 112
#4. Missouri: 100
#5. Pennsylvania: 95

People walking by a Cathedral in Granada, Nicaragua
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Milosz Maslanka // Shutterstock

#9. Nicaragua

Refugees that arrived from Nicaragua since October 2023
To Iowa: 64

To the U.S. as a whole: 1,921
Top states receiving refugees from Nicaragua
#1. Florida: 245
#2. Texas: 147
#3. California: 143
#4. Minnesota: 107
#5. Arizona: 88

Daily scene of tuktuks, street stalls and motorbikes in San Pedro
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Lauren Squire // Shutterstock

#10. Guatemala

Refugees that arrived from Guatemala since October 2023
To Iowa: 40

To the U.S. as a whole: 3,253
Top states receiving refugees from Guatemala
#1. California: 425
#2. Texas: 340
#3. Florida: 204
#4. North Carolina: 199
#5. Georgia: 136

Men gathered in the streets with motorcycles in Juba
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punghi // Shutterstock

#11. Republic of South Sudan

Refugees that arrived from Republic of South Sudan since October 2023
To Iowa: 39

To the U.S. as a whole: 1,045
Top states receiving refugees from Republic of South Sudan
#1. Texas: 101
#2. Nebraska: 95
#3. New York: 85
#4. Colorado: 66
#4. Arizona: 66

Burundian people gather at an outside market
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Rostasedlacek // Shutterstock

#12. Burundi

Refugees that arrived from Burundi since October 2023
To Iowa: 30

To the U.S. as a whole: 476
Top states receiving refugees from Burundi
#1. Texas: 54
#2. Arizona: 49
#3. New York: 41
#4. Pennsylvania: 37
#5. Iowa: 30

Pedestrians on a street in Bogota, Columbia
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Matyas Rehak // Shutterstock

#13. Colombia

Refugees that arrived from Colombia since October 2023
To Iowa: 29

To the U.S. as a whole: 967
Top states receiving refugees from Colombia
#1. Florida: 124
#2. North Carolina: 91
#3. Texas: 81
#4. New York: 64
#5. Washington: 63

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sandis sveicers // Shutterstock

#14. Central African Republic

Refugees that arrived from Central African Republic since October 2023
To Iowa: 23

To the U.S. as a whole: 725
Top states receiving refugees from Central African Republic
#1. Missouri: 75
#2. Texas: 72
#3. Michigan: 55
#4. Georgia: 43
#5. North Carolina: 40

An aerial view of El Salvador.
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Canva

#15. El Salvador

Refugees that arrived from El Salvador since October 2023
To Iowa: 16

To the U.S. as a whole: 987
Top states receiving refugees from El Salvador
#1. Texas: 134
#2. California: 114
#3. Maryland: 107
#4. Virginia: 74
#5. North Carolina: 70

People walking on the street in Aksum
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Artush // Shutterstock

#16. Ethiopia

Refugees that arrived from Ethiopia since October 2023
To Iowa: 15

To the U.S. as a whole: 339
Top states receiving refugees from Ethiopia
#1. Minnesota: 98
#2. Texas: 31
#3. Washington: 28
#4. Ohio: 27
#5. Georgia: 25

Elevated view of Baghdad street scene
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Focus and Blur // Shutterstock

#17. Iraq

Refugees that arrived from Iraq since October 2023
To Iowa: 14

To the U.S. as a whole: 1,300
Top states receiving refugees from Iraq
#1. California: 209
#2. Michigan: 172
#3. Texas: 106
#4. Nebraska: 71
#5. Arizona: 67

People selling bananas at a street market in Huye
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Oscar Espinosa // Shutterstock

#18. Rwanda

Refugees that arrived from Rwanda since October 2023
To Iowa: 9

To the U.S. as a whole: 201
Top states receiving refugees from Rwanda
#1. Texas: 49
#2. South Carolina: 12
#2. Kentucky: 12
#2. Arizona: 12
#5. North Carolina: 11

The skyline of Tripoli, Lybia.
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Canva

#19. Libya

Refugees that arrived from Libya since October 2023
To Iowa: 7

To the U.S. as a whole: 33
Top states receiving refugees from Libya
#1. Pennsylvania: 9
#1. Texas: 9
#3. Utah: 8
#4. Iowa: 7

Wide view of traditional, older buildings on a hillside in Yemen.
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Canva

#20. Yemen

Refugees that arrived from Yemen since October 2023
To Iowa: 5

To the U.S. as a whole: 103
Top states receiving refugees from Yemen
#1. Michigan: 21
#2. Georgia: 13
#2. New York: 13
#4. Montana: 12
#5. Arizona: 8

A distant view of Ikoyi Lagos, Nigeria.
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Canva

#20. Nigeria

Refugees that arrived from Nigeria since October 2023
To Iowa: 5

To the U.S. as a whole: 106
Top states receiving refugees from Nigeria
#1. Illinois: 16
#2. Missouri: 14
#3. Arizona: 13
#3. North Carolina: 13
#5. Kansas: 9

Woman and child on busy market street of Copan
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amnat30 // Shutterstock

#22. Honduras

Refugees that arrived from Honduras since October 2023
To Iowa: 4

To the U.S. as a whole: 727
Top states receiving refugees from Honduras
#1. Texas: 118
#2. Florida: 87
#3. New York: 55
#4. California: 42
#4. Georgia: 42

Aerial drone shot of Conakry, Guinea.
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Flightseeing-Germany // Shutterstock

#23. Guinea

Refugees that arrived from Guinea since October 2023
To Iowa: 3

To the U.S. as a whole: 75
Top states receiving refugees from Guinea
#1. Colorado: 15
#2. Georgia: 9
#3. North Carolina: 7
#4. Arizona: 5
#4. Michigan: 5

People on a busy street in Phnom Penh
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aleksander hunta // Shutterstock

#23. Cambodia

Refugees that arrived from Cambodia since October 2023
To Iowa: 3

To the U.S. as a whole: 53
Top states receiving refugees from Cambodia
#1. Texas: 17
#2. North Carolina: 6
#2. Rhode Island: 6
#4. California: 5
#4. Oregon: 5

A distant view of the Havana skyline in Cuba.
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Canva

#25. Cuba

Refugees that arrived from Cuba since October 2023
To Iowa: 2

To the U.S. as a whole: 130
Top states receiving refugees from Cuba
#1. Florida: 51
#2. Texas: 17
#3. Tennessee: 10
#4. New York: 9
#5. Washington: 6

A distant view of Mount Victoria in Cameroon.
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Canva

#25. Cameroon

Refugees that arrived from Cameroon since October 2023
To Iowa: 2

To the U.S. as a whole: 102
Top states receiving refugees from Cameroon
#1. Texas: 13
#1. Pennsylvania: 13
#3. Nevada: 8
#4. Maryland: 7
#4. California: 7

Woman walking on busy street in Kampala with basket of mangos
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Vlad Karavaev // Shutterstock

#25. Uganda

Refugees that arrived from Uganda since October 2023
To Iowa: 2

To the U.S. as a whole: 35
Top states receiving refugees from Uganda
#1. Massachusetts: 6
#1. Missouri: 6
#3. Ohio: 5
#4. Michigan: 4
#4. Washington: 4

A panoramic view of Georgetown, Guyana.
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Canva

#25. Guyana

Refugees that arrived from Guyana since October 2023
To Iowa: 2

To the U.S. as a whole: 2
Top states receiving refugees from Guyana
#1. Iowa: 2

This story features data reporting and writing by Emma Rubin and is part of a series utilizing data automation across 46 states.

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