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Record 1.3 Million Applied for Asylum in Europe Last Year

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The E.U. nations, Switzerland and Norway saw a record 1.3 million migrants apply for asylum in 2015, accounting for about one-tenth of all applications (11.6 million) received by those countries in the past 30 years.

According to the Pew Research Center, which analyzed data from the E.U.’s statistical agency Eurostat, last year’s 1.3 million applications is close to double the last record, set in 1992, of 697,000 asylum applications. That surge was caused by the fall of the Iron Curtain after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

In 2015, Germany was the primary destination for asylum seekers. The country received 442,000 applications, the highest annual number recorded by a European country for the past three decades. Hungary received the second largest number of applications in 2015 with 174,000, followed by Sweden, which received 156,000.

Per capita, Hungary received the highest number of first-time requests for asylum in 2015, some 1,770 applications per 100,000 people. The number is well above the total European rate of 250 applicants per 100,000. Sweden came second to Hungary with 1,600 first-time asylum applications per 100,000 people, followed by Austria (1,000 per 100,000 people) and Norway (590 per 100,000).

More than half of all asylum applicants in 2015 came from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. East European regions like Ukraine, Albania, Russia and Kosovo contributed to 17% of all asylum applications in the E.U., Switzerland and Norway.

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