Visualizing Asylum Policy

Between 2001 and 2012 more than 4.5 million people have applied for asylum protection in one of the European countries. From these, less than ten percent have been granted the full legal status of a 'refugee'. The European states differ significantly in how many asylum applications they receive, and how many they actaully recognize.

This dynamic (motion) chart below shows the number of recceived asylum applications and the asylum recognition rates for 29 European countries over 12 years. The chart illustrates not only the differences in the asylum flows of the European countries of asylum destination, but makes it possible to trace and compare the experiences of individual states.

When you press 'Play' each dot traces the experience of one country over time. You can choose to observe all, select a single state to focus upon, or tick a couple to compare their experiences. A movement of a dot (and the trace in leaves) in a horizontal direction means that the number of asylum applications received by a country increases while the recognition rates remains the same. Similarly, a vertical move implies a change in the recognition rate but a stable asylum application flow. A trajectory that follows a diagonal suggests a link between applications and recognition rates.

The dynamic plot is done with Google Chart Tools via the googleVis library in R. The code and data are available here and here. More details about asylum policy in Europe can be found in this blogpost, and in two academic articles here and here.



This visualization has been put together by Dimiter Toshkov and last updated in May 2014. The visualization is based on data from UNHCR, graphed with the googleVis library in R.

Access the data

Data Script in R