You are viewing a javascript disabled version of the site. Please enable Javascript for this site to function properly.
Go to headerGo to navigationGo to searchGo to contentsGo to footer
In content section. Select this link to jump to navigation

Integrating refugees in the United States: The successes and challenges of resettlement in a Global Context


In 2014 there were more than 14 million refugees worldwide and almost a million places for permanent resettlement were needed. This article reviews administrative and survey data on the characteristics and integration outcomes of refugees resettled in the United States, Canada and Scandinavia. Refugees to these destinations are increasingly diverse in their origins and languages-posing challenges for host communities. Refugees in the United States tend to be employed due to an early focus on self-sufficiency there, but those in Sweden and Norway have low employment rates, with Canada representing a middle ground. While limited English skills slow integration in the United States and Canada, acquiring Norwegian and Swedish is tougher because refugees are seldom exposed to these languages before resettlement. In the United States, older refugee cohorts have reached income parity with the U.S.-born population, but those resettled since the 2008-09 recession have started at a greater employment and income disadvantage. This article describes the administrative and survey data on U.S. refugees in rich detail, but the available administrative data for refugees in Canada, Norway and Sweden have yet to be fully mined.