Syria Syria

Statistical Snapshot


Syria’s estimated population reached 18.2 million in 2021, down from 21 million in 2011, when conflict erupted.[1] The war has led to one of the largest refugee crises in the world, with Syrian refugees making up a quarter of all refugees globally. More than 11 million people have been formally displaced – half of Syria’s 2011 population—including more than 6 million internally displaced people and 5.6 million refugees as per the latest UNHCR data.[2] Most Syrian refugees continue to live in the region, mostly in urban host community areas (while only 6 percent reside in camps), with 65.6 percent residing in Turkey, 15.3 percent in Lebanon, 11.9 percent in Jordan, 4.4 percent in Iraq, 2.9 percent in North Africa.[2] 45 percent of all registered Syrian refugees in the Arab region are children below the age of 18.[3]

According to the Global Peace Index, Syria held the position of least peaceful country for the past six years and second least peaceful country worldwide in 2019 and 2020, owing to the recent weakening in the intensity of conflict. However, Syria still holds the highest value worldwide on the index of Ongoing conflict and economic cost of violence.[4]

Conflict in Syria has taken a very heavy toll on the economy, eroding livelihoods, destroying infrastructure, and disrupting services provision since 2011. While The World Bank estimates that economic activity in Syria had shrunk by more than 60 percent by 2017 compared to the 2010 levels,[5] accumulated losses from the conflict are estimated at $324.5 billion, when comparing the GDP Syria would have achieved in the absence of war. Syria incurred the largest economic cost of violence in the world, estimated at 59 percent of GDP in 2020.[4] Syria’s Human Development Index (HDI) value declined from 0.644 in 2010 to 0.567 in 2020, positioning the country in the low human development category — at 151st out of 189 countries and territories.[6] Unemployment has increased to 55 percent [7] compared to the official rate of 8.6 percent in 2010.[8]


Furthermore, a deepening economic and political crisis in Lebanon and the introduction of the Caesar Law have added additional restraints on Syria’s external economic ties, leading to fuel shortages, price hikes, and a rapid depreciation in local currency.[5]

Over the last year, the price of basic items in Syria has increased by 236 percent, just as the value of the Syrian Pound has fell. The price of oil has increased from 1000 Syrian pounds in January 2020, to around 5000 Syrian pounds in January 2021.[9]

In 2021, around 13.4 million people were considered in need of humanitarian assistance in the world’s second worst humanitarian crisis after Yemen.[10][11]
According to the latest UN Humanitarian Needs Overview, more than 83 percent of Syrians live below the poverty line, compared to 28 percent in 2010, while the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) – which employs indicators related to health, education and basic needs — estimates that 38.9 percent of the population lives in multidimensional poverty.[7] According to alarming new national data from the UN World Food Programme (WFP), a record 12.4 million Syrians – around 60 percent of the population - are now food insecure.[9]


Given the continuous displacement, exposure to violence, increasing poverty and persistent lack of access to basic services and necessities, the wellbeing of children has been particularly affected in Syria, with 6 million under-18 children in need of humanitarian assistance in 2021 (increase from 4.8 million estimated for Humanitarian Response Plan 2020).[12] Around 91,811 under-five children were acutely undernourished in 2019, with an additional 146,898 children at a high risk of undernourishment if the crisis persists.[7] Due to ongoing hostilities, one out of three schools were either damaged, destroyed, or used as collective shelters for internally displaced people. In the same context, 2.1 million children remain out-of-school and 1.3 million children at risk of dropping out.[13] According to the latest United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) estimates, 39 percent and 38 percent of one-year-old children lacked DTP and measles immunization, compared to 6 percent and 11 percent respectively in the Arab region.[14]


The crisis has deeply impacted the health delivery system, draining the health workforce, across the country, with 46 percent of hospitals and primary health facilities being non-functional or partially functional. By mid-2019, 13.2 million Syrians needed health assistance, with females making up 72 percent of them.[7] The disruption of health services, unsanitary living conditions, and low coverage of routine immunisation put extreme challenges on Syria to alleviate the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.


The Ministry of Health registered 19,404 cases of COVID-19 cases by April 5, 2021, with 1,313 reported deaths.[11] There are no reported administered vaccine doses yet.[15] However, Syria is one of 20 countries in the Eastern Mediterranean Region which are expected to receive a total of 46 to 56 million additional doses of AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccines during the first half of 2021 as part of COVAX Facility.[16]

This overview was last updated in April 2021. Priority is given to the latest available official data published by national statistical offices and/or public institutions.


[1] Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat.  2019. World Population Prospects. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 24 April 2021].

[2] United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). April 2021. Syria Regional Refugee Response. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 24 April 2021].

[3] Regional Refugee & Resilience Plan. 2020. Regional strategic overview, 2021-2022. [ONLINE] Available at:  [Accessed 24 April 2021].
[4] Institute for Economics and Peace. 2020. Global Peace Index: Measuring Peace in a Complex World. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed  26 April 2021].
[5] The World Bank. 2020. Syria Overview. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 26 April 2021].
[6] United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). HDI Database. 2021. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 23 April 2021].

[7] Whole of Syria Strategic Steering Group (SSG). March 2019. 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP). Syrian Arab Republic. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 23 April 2021]. 

[8] Syria Central Bureau of Statistics. 2020. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 23 April 2021].
[9] UN World Food Programme. February 2021. Twelve million Syrians now in the grip of hunger, worn down by conflict and soaring food prices. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 23 April 2021]

[10] United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. (UNOCHA). 2019. Key Figures. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 23 April 2021].

[11] UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ReliefWeb. Syrian Arab Republic: COVID-19 Humanitarian Update No. 25 As of 5 April 2021. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 23 April 2021].

[12] United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF). 2021. UNICEF Whole of Syria Humanitarian Situation Report: March 2021. [ONLINE] Available at:[Accessed 30 April 2021].
[13] United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF). 2020. Syria Crisis April 2019 Humanitarian Results. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 23 April 2021].

[14] United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF). 2020. Data by topic and country [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 23 April 2021].

[15] World Health Organization. March 2021. WHO Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dashboard. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 24 March 2021].

[16]  UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ReliefWeb. February 2021. Glimmer of hope: COVID-19 vaccines roll out in countries of the Eastern Mediterranean Region. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 24 March 2021].

view all

Data Highlights

  • The spread and amplification of Syria’s armed conflict have led to a humanitarian crisis with 6.5 million internally displaced persons and 4.8 million refugees by the end of 2015, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

view all