The spokesperson for the global United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, Shabia Mantoo made an appeal to wealthy nations to take in more refugees on September 21, 2021. She said that “90 per cent of the world’s refugees [are] hosted in some of the poorest countries in the world,” directly suggesting that wealthy countries needed to do more in regards to resettlement.
Worldometers listed 57 countries that had a Gross Domestic Capital per Capita (GDPC) of over $25,000 in 2017. Sixteen of those had populations under 2.5 million, suggesting that they are not well equipped to take in a large number of refugees. Two countries – Singapore and Hong Kong – are extremely dense leaving little room for further absorption. That meant that there are 39 countries which are theoretically well-situated to take in refugees.
|Country||GDP per Capita (2017)||Population demsity (pop / Sq.km.)||immigration percentage|
showing population density from the World Bank
Reviewing the table above shows that there are four wealthy countries which are sparsely populated which have the ability to easily absorb large numbers of refugees: Australia; Canada; Kazakhstan and Russia. There are eight other countries which also have lots of room: Norway; USA; Saudi Arabia; Sweden; Finland; Oman; New Zealand and Lithuania. Six additional wealthy countries with ample room include: Ireland; Spain; Malaysia; Greece; Romania and Croatia.
Based on the combined factors of wealth and space to settle refugees, the ten bolded countries should assume the lead in absorbing refugees.
A deeper analysis of the wealthiest countries shows an interesting trend regarding welcoming immigrants to their countries. The European countries tend to have a modest level of immigrants, between 10 and 17%, while the oil rich Arab states have extremely high level of immigrant workers, ranging from 40 to 75% of the total population. The wealthy countries with the highest population densities clustered in three groups: Europeans; southeast Asians which have virtually no immigrants, and Israel.
|Country||GDP per capita||Population Density (pop per sq. km.)||Immigration Percentage|
according to data from the World Bank
As the world looks to wealthy countries to absorb more refugees and immigrants, it can look at the success of Israel in welcoming newcomers, as it turns to sparsely populated countries like Australia and Canada, homogeneous countries like Ireland, Norway, Sweden and Finland, and Muslim countries including Saudi Arabia and Oman to do their fair share.