In recent weeks, the world has been moved by the plight of the Syrians, fleeing a years-long civil war and coming to Europe in search of a better life.
But there are many others making similar journeys.
Mashable analyzed data from Eurostat, the EU's data collection agency, to determine where most of the asylum-seekers are coming from.
In 2011, Syria, like many other countries in the Middle East, seemed poised to make a revolutionary change. That year was the start of the Arab Spring — where citizens of Arab countries took to the streets to demand change and political freedom. However, the Syrian regime responded with tanks, gunfire and more violence leading to a long conflict.
As a result of the war, many Syrians now lack basic access to water, food and medical supplies, according to the World Food Programme. Syria now has over 4 million registered refugees. A majority of the refugees are in countries neighboring Syria, such as Lebanon and Turkey.
Decades of conflict has given Afghanistan the unfortunate status of having the highest number of refugees in the world. Millions of people have fled Afghanistan, with many going to Iran and Pakistan. Afghanistan is still considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world — especially, for children.
Though there is no current violent conflict in Kosovo, high rates of unemployment and poverty are driving thousands of people to Europe. Kosovo. Since the bloody conflict between ethnic Albanians and ethnic Serbs in the late 1990's, the country has struggled. The poverty rate in 2007, the most recent year for which data was available, was 45%, according to the World Bank.
These applicants are flocking to Germany for a better life. Many of the applicants are ethnic Albanians who cite discrimination and violence as factors for leaving, according toa 2014 report from the European Asylum Support Office.
The tens of thousands of asylum seekers from Russia are generally political dissidents — and a majority of them are from Chechnya, according to Jie Zong, a research assistant at the Migration Policy Institute. Chechen refugees have come to Europe since the 1990's when the country went to war with Russia to gain independence. Now under Russian control, Chechenya today is relatively stable, although the government has faced U.S. sanctions over its violation of human rights.
Many Chechen refugees live in Russia, though others are now looking for a new start in Europe.
In the northern region of Pakistan, especially near the border with Afghanistan, there is violence and instability. The Pakistan government is fighting different militant groups in region, including Tehrik-e-Taliban — the group that killed 145 school children just last year. The religious militancy is contributing to rising social pressure for non-Muslims, causing them to leave the country, according to Dawn. However, the reason for a surge in applications is not entirely clear.
The thousands of Eritreans asking for asylum in Europe are fleeing an autocratic and violent state. Eritrea's current president, Isias Afwerki, and his administration have beenrunning the country since 1993. The country's citizens live in a constant state of fear brought on by the states' detaining and "disappearing" of anyone who criticizes the regime, according to the Guardian.
A large number of those leaving Serbia are Roma — an ethnic group that has repeatedly faced discrimination in all sectors. Forceful evictions are a significant problem for Roma, leading to homelessness in some cases. Roma also face discrimination in the labor market and in schools. Roma tend to receive refugee status, unlike other applicants from the Western Balkans who are generally considered economic migrants, Zong said.
Iraq, in addition to hosting many Syrian refugees, is also seeing a flow of its own citizens away from the country. Since the U.S. invasion of 2003, instability, government inefficiency and violence has continued to plague Iraq — most recently in the form of the extremist group the Islamic State which controls large swaths of territory in Iraq and neighboring Syria.
Many Iraqis are making the same journeys as Syrian refugees, crossing from Turkey into Greece.
Somalis have spent decades as refugees, with third-generation Somalis now being born in refugee camps, according to UNHCR. Somalis first became refugees following the beginning of their civil war in 1991. In the years that followed, violence ensured that there was no permanent central government until 2012.
UNHCR records indicate there's almost a million registered Somali refugees, with 420,000 of them in Kenya.
Albania is one of the poorest countries in Europe. While Roma also make up a part of the immigration from Albania, a majority of the applications for asylum are from ethnic Albanians, who cite a lack of economic opportunity. The problems facing the Roma in Albania are similar to what they face in Serbia. namely: eviction, lack of protection from the police, and discrimination in education according to analysis by the European Asylum Support Office.
Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.