UNHCR released provisional statistics on the number of asylum applications in 2009 in industrialized countries.
“The data in UNHCR’s provisional statistical report, which measures asylum levels and trends in 44 industrialized nations, showed that, compared to 2008, the number of asylum-seekers last year remained the same with 377,000 applications. This was despite regional disparities highlighted by the report.
The number of asylum applications increased in 19 of the countries and fell in the other 25 under review. Of note was the Nordic region, which recorded a 13 per cent increase with 51,100 new applicants, the highest in six years.
By contrast, the number of applications in southern Europe went down by 33 per cent, with 50,100 claims. This was driven by significant declines in Italy (-42 per cent), Turkey (-40 per cent) and Greece (-20 per cent).
Afghans topped the list of asylum applicants with 26,800 submissions, representing a 45 per cent increase over 2008. Iraqis dropped to second place with some 24,000 claims, while Somalis moved to third with 22,600 asylum applications. They were followed by people from the Russian Federation, China, Serbia and Nigeria.” (UNHCR press release, 23 March 2010)
Click here to read the full report (PDF).