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Stateless Persons 2018

Map No.



Having a passport or even an officially recognised national identity is not a status that every person on this planet can take for granted.

The UNHCR’s populations of concern database lists 3.9 million stateless persons by their geographical distribution. These reveal some of the major geopolitical hotspots of statelessness in 2018 that are shown in this cartogram. Affected populations include the more than one million people in Myanmar’s Rakhine state are stateless on the basis of the current citizenship law, […] many of the migrants of Burkinabé descent [in Côte d’Ivoire] who were not eligible for Ivorian nationality after the country’s independence from France in 1960,” and in Europe the ‘Non Citizens’ of Latvia which are a legacy of the former USSR.
UNHCR defines stateless persons as “a person who is not considered as a national by any State under the operation of its law”. In simple terms, this means that a stateless person does not have a nationality of any country. Some people are born stateless, but others become stateless. Statelessness can occur for several reasons, including discrimination against particular ethnic or religious groups, or on the basis of gender; the emergence of new States and transfers of territory between existing States; and gaps in nationality laws. Whatever the cause, statelessness has serious consequences for people in almost every country and in all regions of the world. 
The stateless population includes 906,635 Myanmar refugees in Bangladesh and an estimated 125,000 stateless IDPs in Myanmar who are also counted in refugee and IDP populations.

More information about this map can also be found in our blog: Citizens of Nowhere?


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial - ShareAlike 4.0 International License. For any commercial use (including in publishing) a map use license needs to be obtained.

Technical Notes

This map shows the global proportion of stateless persons in 2018.

The colour shading indicates the major geographic regions of the world used in all Worldmapper cartograms (see reference map).

This map uses data by UNHCR (last accessed March 2018). We aim to map as complete data as possible and therefore estimate data for missing values. In some cases, missing data for very small territories is not used in the cartogram and that area is therefore omitted in the map.

Further notes on the data, as well as all modifications to the original data source are noted in our data sheets.

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