On numbers

Hannah Postel, Cynthia Rathinasamy and Michael Clemens over at the Center for Global Development’s Views from the Center blog investigate the numbers being thrown casually around in the media about Europe’s refugee crisis —

Journalists have warned you that there are now 60 million refugees worldwide, and that Europe faces “the worst refugee crisis since World War II.” They’ve told you this again and again and againand again.

Well, fact check: It’s not true. Not even close.

First, most of the people displaced by violence, like the slow catastrophe in Syria, are not properly called refugees because most of them have not left their country. Second, Europe’s current refugee crisis is certainly not the most serious since World War II. The international community has handled much more, and they’ve done so recently. If Europe is unable to accommodate the current influx of people fleeing violence, it’s because of a failure of policies and institutions, not because of unprecedented numbers.

Click through to their post for graphs of refugees totals per capita in EU countries since 1951.

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