Refugees in the United States: Languages and Resettlement (Infographic)

Refugees in the United States_ Languages and Resettlement

More Than 3 Million Refugees in the United States Since 1980More than three million refugees have been resettled in the United States since The Refugee Act of 1980, which created the current national standard for the screening and admission of refugees in the United States.

Who is a refugee? A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war, or violence. Most likely, they cannot return home or are afraid to do so. War and ethnic, tribal and religious violence are leading causes of refugees fleeing their countries. In the United States, refugees are usually outside of the United States when they are screened for resettlement.

Less than 1% of refugees worldwide are resettled each year. In 2016, about 125,600 refugees were resettled.

According to the U.S. Department of State, The United States Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) is comprised of:

  • The Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) of the U.S. Department of State.
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
  • The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Five international or nongovernmental organizations operating Resettlement Support Centers around the world under the supervision and funding of the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) of the U.S. Department of State
  • Nine domestic nongovernmental organizations with a total of about 350 affiliated offices across the United States.
  • Thousands of private citizens who volunteer their time and skills to help refugees resettle in the United States.


(Infographic) Key Facts About Refugees in the United States:

Refugees in the United States (Infographic)

Share this Image On Your Site

Refugees in the United States: Top 10 Languages Spoken (2008-2017)


Source: Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration. Office of Admissions – Refugee Processing Center

1. Arabic – 138,174
2. Napali – 94,072
3. Somali – 56,607
4. Sgaw Karen – 44,379
5. Spanish – 32,875
6. Kiswahili – 20,235
7. Chaldean – 16,922
8. Burmese – 16,082
9. Armenian – 15,727
10. Other Minor Languages – 12,768


*In 2017, Arabic and Somali were the top 2 languages spoken by resettled refugees in the United States.


Refugees in the United States: Top 10 Replacement States (October 1st, 2017- January 31st, 2018)

1. Ohio – 10.08%
2. Texas – 7.48%
3. Washington – 6.56%
4. New York – 5.98%
5. California – 5.71%
6. Pennsylvania – 5.68%
7. North Carolina – 3.53%
8. Illinois – 3.46%
9. Georgia – 3.4%
10. Michigan – 3.32%

*During the first seven months of the Fiscal Year 2017, California, Texas and New York resettled 25% of refugees in the United States.


Refugees in the United States: Arrivals By Region (Oct 1 2017 – Jan 31st 2018)

1.) Africa – 34.88%
2) Near East/South Asia – 31.84%
3) Europe – 17.83%
4) East Asia – 12.36%
5) Latin America/Caribbean – 3.09%

*According to Pew Research Center, in fiscal 2016, the highest number of refugees from any nation came from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Congo accounted for 16,370 refugees followed by Syria (12,587), Burma (aka Myanmar, with 12,347), Iraq (9,880) and Somalia (9,020). Over the past decade, the largest numbers of refugees have come from Burma (159,692) and Iraq (135,643).

Download the Free White Paper

Download the Free White Paper!

Refugees in the United States reflect that historically, the U.S. has been a world leader in refugee resettlement and is the leading country in the world for refugee resettlement.

As a leading partner for global language services, Telelanguage has been providing the highest quality interpretation and translation services since 1991 for industries including government, healthcare, legal and judicial, social services and more. Because language barriers can come up at any time, we provide U.S. based, certified interpreters in more than 300 languages – available 24/7, 365 days a year.

Learn More About Current Refugee Trends in the United States Download the Free White Paper: Current Refugee Trends in the United States, and the Ever-growing Need for Language Services

Have questions about language interpretation? Telelanguage can help. Request a free quote, demo, or ask us about incentives for switching language service providers here.


4,000+ interpreters ready to speak in over 300 languages

Call Telelanguage today at 1-888-983-5352

Expert interpretations available telephonically, face-to-face, or via video remote!