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Different Types of Refugees: Why They Flee

Did you know that 24 people are displaced every minute? The topic of worldwide immigration has always been a tense one. 

Throughout history, humans have fleed their homes in search of something better. The number of refugees has increased drastically in recent years. 

As there are many more refugees now there are also many different types of refugees and their reasons for fleeing differ. 

Continue reading to learn about these different types of refugees and the challenges they face.  

While refugee is a generalized term for people who flee there are a couple of different types of refugees to define. 


The UN Refugee convention held in 1951 determined that a refugee is a person who flees their home country because of their fear of being persecuted because of national origin, race, and religious or political affiliation. 

Asylum Seekers

An asylum seeker is another type of refugee who has not officially been recognized as a refugee by the country they have fleed to. 

This application process is a long and hard one and many asylum seekers struggle through it, sometimes ending up without a place to sleep or in subpar conditions in refugee camps. 

Internally Displaced Persons

IDPs are those who have been pushed out of their homes but remain in their home countries. 

These conditions affect the person negatively as they struggle to secure basic necessities like food or shelter. 

Stateless Persons

These are people who are forced to live without a nationality. This means that they do not belong to any country and therefore live without any identifying documentation. 

This type of discrimination bars people from rights like healthcare and education among many more. 


These are former refugees and have now returned to their country of origin. 

Returnees may need some guidance and support in their return and in reestablishing their life in their home country. 

Along with the different types of refugees, there are also many different reasons for refugees to flee.

Religious or Political Affiliation

Many of the world’s refugees flee their homes because of discrimination based on things like race or political affiliation. 

Religion is one of the main ways people are persecuted and forced to flee. 

Political persecution also creates refugees, like Cheng Muyang, and causes them to fight in order to remain in another country that will guarantee their safety. 

Escaping War 

War is the longest-running producer of refugees, displacing people from countries like Iraq and Afghanistan and more recently Syria. 

Discrimination based on Gender/Sexual Orientation

Women and members of the LGBTQ community continue to be ostracized and persecuted around the world, forcing them to flee their homes. 

It was only in 2012 when the UNHCR updated their guidelines to include gender and sexual orientation as a reason to flee and seek refuge.


Changing and unpredictable climates are forcing people to leave their homes in search of secure sources of food. 

Climate Change

As natural disasters continue to occur with more frequency more and more people will be forced to leave their homes in search of food, shelter, and safety. 

Types of Refugees and Staying Informed 

There are many types of refugees around the world. Syria has created the largest number at 5.6 million and Afghanistan and Sudan follow with over 2 million each.

Be sure to check out the rest of our blog for more helpful info.

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