Illinois Is One of Six States Taking in the Most Syrian Refugees

Since March 2011, nearly 1,600 Syrian refugees have fled their war-torn country for the U.S., according to the State Department. And Illinois is one of six states taking in the most refugees.

Over the last four and a half years, the state has accepted 132 people who have resettled in Illinois after leaving Syria. Thirty-five other states also have seen Syrian people arrive, though Time Magazine reports that the State Department has highlighted six in particular that have taken the most:

Texas - 180
California - 171
Michigan - 159
Illinois - 132
Arizona - 107
Florida - 97

TIME reports that the biggest states tend to be the ones that take on the most people, as seen in the list above. They have more existing infrastructure and can absorb small population increases more easily.

From TIME:

In the U.S., a number of factors go into where refugees are moved, says Sarah Margon, Washington Director of Human Rights Watch. Refugees are relocated through negotiations between the federal government and non-governmental organizations called VOLAGs (voluntary agencies), which contract with the State Department. Those NGOs help determine which communities are right for relocation based on factors like housing availability. At the same time, refugees can also indicate if they have family in the U.S. and can try to be reunited with relatives, which can help direct where they're relocated.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that about 3 million Syrians have left to seek safety in neighboring countries and another 6.5 million are internally displaced within Syria.

The Chicago Tribune used a different set of calculations from the U.N. to make six charts that show the Syrian conflict in comparison to Illinois. According to those calculations, 4.1 million Syrians might have left the country as of last month. That is more than double the population of Chicago:


You can see the other five eye-opening charts here, as well as a timeline of Syrian refugees coming to Illinois.


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