(NEW YORK) — The number of people joining the ranks of the world’s refugee population grew by another 800,000 in 2011, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Despite this figure, the actual number of those who have crossed over international borders over time to escape from their homes fell from 43.7 million in 2010 to 42.5 million last year due to displaced people deciding to return to their countries of origin.
Afghanistan remains the nation with the most refugees as 2.7 million have left the country to escape the ravages of the 10-year-long war. Most Afghans who became refugees live in either Pakistan or Iran.
Meanwhile, Iraq has the second largest refugee population even after the war there officially ended six months ago. It’s estimated that 1.4 million Iraqis live elsewhere.
Germany is ranked as the largest host country to refugees over the last four years although the U.S. receives the most asylum requests among 44 industrialized nations.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Holly Yan, David Williams and Steve Almasy, CNN
Ralph Ellis and Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN