The war has displaced the most refugees in Europe since World War II. To date, 5.6 million refugees have fled Ukraine, and another 7.7 million have left home and sought shelter elsewhere in the country.1 All told, the war has pushed nearly 30 percent of Ukrainians out of their homes. The war in Ukraine represents the second largest humanitarian crisis since the 1960s in terms of number of people who have fled or been displaced, and fifth in terms of fraction of the population this represents. And it could get worse: the UN estimates that 8.3 million Ukrainians could be refugees by the end of the year.
Neighbors and others are helping. Poland, where a large Ukrainian expatriate community already lives, has welcomed the most refugees, about 3 million. That’s equivalent to an 8 percent gain in the country’s population over the course of two months, and it’s 45 times the typical annual inflow of migrants. Measured by the size of the influx relative to the historical average annual arrival of migrants, Slovak Republic welcomed the most, the equivalent of 101 times the annual historical inflow.
Countries’ capacity to feed, shelter, and care for refugees varies. A well-organized, rapidly scaled international humanitarian aid program, such as the UN’s Regional Refugee Response Plan, will surely help. And in the longer term, realizing the benefits of immigration hinges on how well new arrivals are integrated into the country’s labor market and society.
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