Where Are Refugees Being Resettled

To better understand the small to mid-sized cities where many refugees are being placed, we used WRAPS Annual Dataset and U.S. census data to analyze 222 resettlement locations. These 222 locations are representative of a local resettlement office but do not necessarily reflect every individual town and city where refugees are resettled. However, these maps are still useful in analyzing refugee placement and migration patterns in recent years. Mapping results for the FY 2012-2016 period confirm the trend towards smaller cities as both resettlement and migration destinations.

The maps below show approved settlement sites by state and by city for FY2012-2016 in terms of:

1) Approved refugee settlement capacity

2) Approved settlement capacity as a percentage of the overall population

3) Approved settlement capacity as a percentage of the foreign-born population


The total amounts noted here are the numbers of refugees approved to resettle by the federal government in cooperation with the resettlement agencies. It should be noted that the actual resettlement sites where refugees end up may differ from the sites noted in our study. This is because the official resettlement site is most often listed as the same as the address of the local resettlement agency. This office location may be somewhat different from the towns, municipalities or metropolitan regions where the bulk of refugees are actually initially placed. There is also the issue of specific neighborhoods within towns and cities where refugee resettlement is most heavily concentrated, making it more difficult to see how resettlement numbers compare to broader municipal statistics, especially in larger urban areas. These challenges in many ways limit our ability to provide a complete analysis of the effects of resettlement at a smaller scale and are important to keep in mind when using this data.



  • The approved capacity does not reflect the actual number of refugees placed at any given site, which is generally fewer than the authorized ceiling

  • Population data comes from the 2010 US Census for 217 of 222 sites

  • The 2013 American Community Survey provided population data for the five sites where 2010 census data was not available

  • All Foreign Born data comes from the 2013 American Community Survey

  • State settlement numbers were calculated by adding up all sites listed in each state from the WRAPS data.

  • Database joining census and WRAPS resettlement data collected by our team and maps of 2012-2015 resettlement available upon request.

Approved Settlement Capacity



Approved Settlement Capacity as a Percentage of Population



Approved Settlement Capacity as a Percentage of Foreign-Born Population


Resettlement Sites Grouped by City Size

Why Small Cities

How US Refugee Resettlement Works

Interviews and Surveys