What role for cities in terms of reception and integration of asylum seekers and refugees?
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In 2018, what percentage of the world’s asylum seekers and refugees lived in urban areas?
While refugees are usually pictured living in camps, in 2018, 61 % of the world’s refugees were living in urban areas, compared to 55 % for the entire population, according to an estimate by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
According to UNHCR, refugees can become autonomous more quickly in these areas with the presence of compatriots who can help them, more employment opportunities, easier access to services such as healthcare, education or administration, or more NGOs to support them. Conversely, the existence of exploitation networks, illegal housing, the threat of being arrested or detained, and significant competition on the labour market – particularly for the least skilled jobs – are among the risks, according to the organisation, faced by the most vulnerable people in cities.
This number is constantly increasing, particularly since 2012 and the Syrian crisis which has brought 6.3 million Syrian refugees to Turkish, Lebanese or European cities. In Europe, Germany was the leading country in terms of receiving asylum seekers and refugees in urban areas in 2018, with 1 million people.