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In 2012, the 27 EU countries received 335,000 asylum applications:
72,5% of those were rejected. Asylum seekers apply in all EU countries but Austria, Netherlands, Italy, Poland and Greece receive most.
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The somewhat outdated graph below, showing applications in 36 industrialized countries (OECD), points to a longterm upward trend: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 decade show a decline:
During the most recent years, however, a new increase:
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 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, or more.
These numbers are more volatile than the numbers in receiving countries because they depend on the occurrence and impact of violent conflicts.
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: