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Where refugees in West Virginia are arriving from

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April 15, 2024
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Where refugees in West Virginia 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 November 2023, the greatest number of refugees admitted by the U.S. came from Congo, Syria, and Afghanistan. Each nation faces a unique set of circumstances that can make their citizens unsafe if they stay in their home country.

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. Syria has seen more than 5 million refugees flee to neighboring nations since 2011 while a longstanding civil war rages, with an additional 6.8 million people forced from their homes and seeking refuge elsewhere in the country. Afghan refugees have been fleeing to neighboring countries for decades, especially to Pakistan and Iran, which combined host over 8 million Afghans.

Stacker referenced data from The Refugee Processing Center to compile statistics on the number of refugees and their countries of origin resettled in West Virginia in November 2023.

November refugee statistics
Countries where refugees arrived from in November
To West Virginia:
#1. Iraq: 5
#2. Nicaragua: 3
#3. Congo: 1

To the U.S. as a whole:
#1. Congo: 1,884
#2. Syria: 1,359
#3. Afghanistan: 1,080
#4. Burma: 606
#5. Guatemala: 247

States that accepted the most refugees in November:
#1. New York: 602
#2. Texas: 579
#3. California: 462
#4. Ohio: 356
#5. Washington: 349

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

Elevated view of Baghdad street scene
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#1. Iraq

Refugees that arrived from Iraq since October 2023
To West Virginia: 5

To the U.S. as a whole: 336
Top states receiving refugees from Iraq
#1. Michigan: 37
#2. California: 34
#3. Virginia: 26
#4. Massachusetts: 24
#4. Nebraska: 24

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

#2. Nicaragua

Refugees that arrived from Nicaragua since October 2023
To West Virginia: 3

To the U.S. as a whole: 282
Top states receiving refugees from Nicaragua
#1. Florida: 61
#2. Minnesota: 21
#3. California: 20
#4. North Carolina: 19
#5. Washington: 15

Afghan women in burkas pass by a man outside a market
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#3. Afghanistan

Refugees that arrived from Afghanistan since October 2023
To West Virginia: 1

To the U.S. as a whole: 1,832
Top states receiving refugees from Afghanistan
#1. California: 311
#2. Virginia: 224
#3. Washington: 137
#4. Texas: 125
#5. New York: 100

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

#3. Congo

Refugees that arrived from Congo since October 2023
To West Virginia: 1

To the U.S. as a whole: 3,804
Top states receiving refugees from Congo
#1. Kentucky: 445
#2. Texas: 325
#3. New York: 241
#4. Arizona: 234
#5. Ohio: 225

This story features data reporting and writing by Emma Rubin and is part of a series utilizing data automation across 47 states.

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