Around 65.3 million people around the globe have been forced out of their homes by conflict or natural disasters, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), including 21.3 million refugees and 3.2 million asylum seekers (those who have applied for refugee status). These unplanned movements of populations have profound social and economic consequences for the regions and countries to which displaced people flee, impacting job markets, housing, consumption, public resources, trade, and more. These consequences aren’t necessarily negative. Refugees and other displaced populations can stimulate consumption, create jobs for themselves and others and actively participate in expanding trade networks, for instance, as shown by various research outlined in the Library section of this website. Yet very little is known about the true impact of refugees on local and national economies, leaving governments and humanitarian agencies uncertain about shaping efficient policies and programs, and citizens with no answers to their questions about the cost of hosting refugees.
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