In 2012, the 27 European Union countries received approximately 335,000 asylum applications:
72,5% of those were rejected. Asylum seekers apply in all EU countries but Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Italy, Poland and Greece receive most. The 38 countries of Europe as a total (including non-EU countries) together received 484,600 claims – an increase of a third from 2012.
In 2013, however, the incidence of asylum seeking in industrialized nations rose by a shocking 28%.
The world total in 2011:
The somewhat outdated graph below, showing applications in 36 industrialized countries (OECD), points to a longterm upward trend:
More recent decades, however, show a decline:
But again, the most recent years show a new increase:
For example, the 28 Member States of the European Union (EU) registered 398,200 asylum claims in 2013, a 32 per cent increase compared to 2012 (301,000). This increase was driven primarily by the crisis in Syria (source).
In general, the number of asylum seekers varies a lot over time, depending on the number and severity of crisis situations around the world, on the approval and entry policies of the receiving countries etc.
The top receiving countries are the following:
Here are the numbers for 2010:
And these are the numbers for 2011:
If we plot this against the size of the receiving countries (which according to some is a good measure of their “level of saturation”, if there is such a thing), then we get the following picture:
The U.S. is usually the most popular destination country for those seeking asylum, but not in terms of percentage of the total population of the destination country. Half a dozen or so countries account for half of all applications.
These numbers are more volatile than the numbers in receiving countries because they depend on the occurrence and impact of violent conflicts. For example, you can clearly see the impact of the war in Syria in this graph:
Most people come from war-torn countries, understandably (Afghanistan, Iraq etc.).
Here are a couple of maps, but I was unable to determine the reference year: