RIT World Map
All maps are interactive, click to explore. Case details and city-level maps are below.
Aarhus, Denmark | Amman, Jordan | Athens, Greece | Augusta, ME, USA | Austin, TX, USA | Beirut, Lebanon | Belgrade, Serbia | Cairo, Egypt | Cape Town, South Africa | Concord, NH, USA | Dar es Salaam, Tanzania | Delhi, India | Detroit, MI, USA | East Boston, MA, USA| Ettumanoor, India | Grahamstown, South Africa | Hamburg, Germany | Irbid, Jordan | Islamabad, Pakistan | Johannesburg, South Africa | Izmir, Turkey | Jalalabad, Afghanistan | Lynn, MA, USA | Milan, Italy | Mangaung, Bloemfontein, South Africa | Monterrey, Mexico | Pokrovsk, Ukraine | San José, Costa Rica | Stuttgart, Germany | Sultanbeyli, Istanbul, Turkey | Tel Aviv, Israel | Tripoli, Lebanon | Washington, D.C., USA
Case Site Details
Aarhus is Denmark’s second largest city with a population of 336,411. The RIT Aarhus case report looks at the integration experience of refugees within a Nordic welfare state. On the one hand, the welfare state provides services and support that may be unimaginable in many other urban displacement settings. On the other hand, the national debates and policies on refugees and immigration have become focused on restricting access and conflation of debates on refugees and radicalization.
How are refugees experiencing integration in this tension between welcome and welfare? According to the policies and procedures in place in Aarhus Municipality, refugees are assigned by the central government integration authorities from one of the official asylum centers in the country. When arriving at Aarhus Central station, they will be met by a municipal "integration officer." The initial steps of enrollment into the municipal welfare system include receiving IDs to get the digital identity to opening a bank account to receive refugee-tailored social welfare transfers. Refugees arriving in Denmark are deliberately housed outside of neighborhoods with a concentration of non-western migrants.
The report is being written by a long-time Aarhus resident and new Syrian refugee arrival.
The Amman report explores perspectives on citizenship and integration from different refugee groups living in the city, as well as local Jordanians. Syrians, Iraqis, Palestinians, and Sudanese have developed different conceptions of citizenship and belonging as they have attempted to integrate into Jordanian society, and face unique and varying challenges associated with their national origin and sense of identity as they move through life in Amman. Furthermore, how refugees’ presence is perceived in Amman, from both the local population and state institutions, directly impacts refugee integration. The citizenship lens demonstrates how refugees, locals, and institutions conceptualize who belongs, who is an outsider, and the degree to which different groups enjoy different rights and receive assistance in the city. The report draws on the authors' experiences working with refugees in Amman.
Since the start of the European "refugee crisis" in 2015, Greece has experienced an unprecedented inflow of migrants and refugees, most of them traveling through Greece's islands and mainland on their way towards Western Europe. After the 2016 closing of the Balkan Route and the implementation of the E.U.-Turkey Deal, more than 60,000 migrants have remained in Greece.
Today, many refugees and their families live in apartments across Athens, and while some of them have applied for asylum in Greece, others are waiting to be reunited with their families elsewhere in Europe. "Integration" has therefore become the goal for humanitarian agencies and the Greek government. This case study examines the integration processes through the perceptions of locals, relief workers, religious leaders and community members in the neighborhoods where refugees build new lives in Athens.
The report is being written by a lifelong Athens resident, with research support from an Iranian and a Syrian refugee who have lived for several years in the city.
This case study provides a composite view of reflections by refugees, host community residents, and municipal level administrators in Augusta, Maine on their experiences with the integration process. It draws on interviews with refugees, the host community, and city municipality and service providers. Self-reliance is an explicit aim for the future for the refugees in Augusta; refugees are not complacent in their situations.
However, many are unsure whether or not Augusta will be their final destination. A sense of instability seems to permeate the various communities; families are apprehensive about long term planning due to the fear that they may lose their benefits and have to move.
The report is written by a team of researchers, including a lifelong resident of Augusta.
This case study examines the relationship the relationship between well-being and integration among Syrian refugees in a southwestern American city. This research examines refugees’ experiences during the asylum-seeking process, which took place outside of the US, and the integration process after arrival.
The author, herself a Syrian migrant to the US, explores all aspects of integration including social obstacles like learning American mannerisms and customs, and more functional obstacles like learning to drive, getting a job, and learning the bureaucratic process of accessing American healthcare services.
The Beirut case report seeks to share the experiences and challenges of integration for Syrian refugees, especially minority refugee groups at special risk including the LGBTQI+ community. Integration is particularly challenging for these groups who face regular discrimination from employers, and risk imprisonment from Lebanese security forces and experience only limited protection in daily life from international actors like UNHCR.
Refugees living in Beirut are distributed widely across the city from Borg Hamood to Al Dawra Street. The distribution of Syrian refugees depends on many complex factors as wide ranging financial constraints to religion that influence capacity and form of integration to the urban fabric. Christian refugees, for example, are settling in the Ashrfeah Porg Hamod area, while Muslim refugees are staying more readily in Shaiah Cola Dawra.
The report is being written by a Syrian refugee who has lived in Beirut for several years.
For more quality research on forced migration in the Middle East, visit the Middle East Research Information Project (MERIP).
The Belgrade case study explores the relationship between the European migrant crisis and political movements in Serbia. It looks at the role of Belgrade as a transit hub for waves of forced migrants, and at the effects of policies to manage migration flows (e.g. counter-smuggling, transit center shut-downs, and restrictions on humanitarian agencies) on the lived experiences of migrants, Serbians, and aid workers who live, work, and pass through the city.
The report was conducted and written by two residents of Belgrade who draw on their own experiences living amongst displaced persons from the recent Balkans region conflict.
While often overlooked in favor of Jordan, Lebanon, or Turkey in the discussion on the current refugee “crisis,” Egypt is a major host of refugees: approximately 211,000 refugees and asylum seekers live in Egypt, the vast majority of whom reside in Cairo. Cairo has long taken in refugees from a diversity of countries and currently hosts large communities from Syria, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, and Yemen. Cairo’s refugees have lived in the city for years, and some for decades.
With next to no meaningful opportunities for local integration, minimal assistance from the international community, and no path to citizenship, future prospects for refugees in Cairo are dim. Yet, despite enduring high levels of racist and xenophobic harassment, abuse, and violence, Cairo’s refugees make the most out of a difficult situation and persevere to develop and sustain their communities. This case study will explore refugee integration in Cairo, including the role of social prejudices, political instability, and livelihoods.
The report's author draws from years of experience as a refugee case worker in Cairo, and from the viewpoint of two sub-Saharan refugee research assistants.
For more quality research on forced migration in the Middle East, visit the Middle East Research Information Project (MERIP).
RIT partners with the Center for Migration & Refugee Studies at the American University in Cairo to present case studies and other reports written by or related to refugees' experience in Cairo.
This report focuses on the educational integration of 15-20-year-old first-generation immigrant pupils in four different schools of Cape Town. These immigrants have already completed their primary education in their home countries (Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Malawi, Lesotho, Swaziland, Rwanda, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and other African countries), and are now enrolling for secondary and high school classes in English-medium institutions in Cape Town, with a second language option of Afrikaans or Xhosa.
For some of the pupils, this is their first experience of a multiracial and multicultural environment. Some of them are from French-speaking nations like the Democratic Republic of Congo and Congo Brazzaville. Others are from the former Portuguese colonies of Angola and Mozambique. Their main challenges are the cultural environment and language barriers. Moreover, they face difficulties obtaining the relevant permits and paperwork to keep them in the schools. Further, their schoolmates have certain prejudiced views of them. The report offers some recommendations that to improve the integration of these children in the schools of Cape Town.
The report was conducted and written by a Zimbabwean migrant who draws on his own experiences with integration to Cape Town.
Concord is the third biggest city in New Hampshire, with a population of just over 42,000 people, with just over 90% of the Concord community being white. The leadership of the city has taken conflicting positions on immigration, for example the election of Safiya Wazir, a resettled Afghan refugee, as State Representative.
This case report looks at the political climate and housing situation of Concord, and takes an in-depth look at the integration process for high school aged refugees. It is a collection of personal experiences from refugee and American students, as well as their teachers and administrators at the city's only public high school, Concord High.
The period of ages 15-18 marks an important phase for both refugees and hosts in the development of identity, cognition, socialization, ethics, reasoning, and the sense of belonging to various socioeconomic groups, and is therefore a critical phase to long-term integration of communities. This research will examine the effects that the increasingly diverse student body has on the Concord High School community as a whole.
The report was conducted and written by a lifelong Concord resident.
Dar es Salaam is the largest city in Tanzania, and host to urban refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and other countries in the region. The RIT Dar es Salaam case study examines the vulnerabilities of these urban refugees, and examines the difficulties they encounter in accessing basic services in the city. It also considers their integration with the Tanzanian urban poor who they live side by side in the informal settlements of the city.
It draws on interviews with the refugees themselves, the host community, and other relevant stakeholders including UN agencies, NGOs and local authorities. It also considers what is next for Tanzania in the wake of a growing displacement crisis in the Central and East African regions, and considers recommendations that could be enacted to improve the lives of the urban refugees of Dar es Salaam. For more updates on the situation for refugees in Tanzania, see reporting from IRIN.
The first Delhi RIT report by Protiti Roy focused on cooking as an element of cultural and economic integration. Food, when unavailable, is a human security concern―from famine and food riots at the community level, to malnutrition, stunted growth, and deficiency diseases at the individual level. When available, food can be an emotional experience, a community identity, or an economic industry. Refugees in Delhi, India are bridging these two aspects of food when they cook dishes from their hometowns and sell it as a livelihood strategy.
Currently, Roy's work is being expanded upon by Gauri Khanduja and Ali Johar, examining educational integration of Rohingya refugees among other migrant populations in Delhi. Both Roy and Khanduja are lifelong residents of Delhi, and Johar is a recent Rohingya migrant to the city.
While extensive research has been conducted on refugees and other migrants in areas surrounding Detroit such as Dearborn, this case report seeks to bring attention to the small portion of refugees from Syria and Iraq living in the city proper of Detroit at a time of rapid change as well as the experiences and changing roles of elders among them.
The report is written by two long-time Detroit residents, including an Iraqi migrant to the city.
This East Boston case study explores the urban space appropriation in several neighborhoods of Boston with large Central American Northern Triangle refugees, and the integration process over a series of years. It examines how immigrants have been transforming the spaces and the community life of both the migrant’s families and the host population. The question of status across generations is also explored: looking at the experiences of first, second, and third generation forcibly displaced people.
The report was conducted and written by a Costa Rican migrant who draws on her own experiences with integration to Boston.
For more quality research on migration and Latin America, visit Wola.
This case study looks at the migration of nurses from the state of Kerala in India. Nurses from predominantly Christian families have been migrating for more than two generations to the Gulf, Western Europe, and North America for better paying jobs. This project explores how families and, in turn, communities are affected when women become the primary bread winners.
The author is herself a lifelong resident of Ettumanoor.
Grahamstown is a small city with a total population of about 92,000 with Rhodes University at its heart. The city comes to life when the students are around, and in winter when it hosts South Africa’s National Arts Festival. Interestingly, this small city has a notable number of small businesses owned and operated by immigrants. These range from clothing shops owned by Somalis, barbershops operated by Zimbabweans and Ghanaians, and other foreign nationals living and working in the town.
Compared to the larger metropolitan cities of Johannesburg or Cape Town which are the preferred destinations for most immigrants, most people outside South Africa have never heard of Grahamstown. As such, this report will explore where immigrants first arrived when they came to South Africa, and why they then opted to come to Grahamstown. Thus, the project focuses on immigrant decision-making. The author, himself a new migrant to Grahamstown, looks at whether the city has met migrants' expectations or allowed their integration to the city.
The author is himself a Zimbabwean migrant, and a new arrival to Grahamstown.
Since the beginning of 2015, Germany has received more than 1.3 million refugees. The national government approved an unprecedented land use policy enabling the construction of refugee and asylum seeker accommodation in non-residential zones. This policy was intended to offset the existing affordable housing shortage and provide temporary and long term housing units for refugees and asylum seekers. This case study explores the spatial implications of Germany’s new refugee housing policy and its impact on integration.
The city of Irbid developed recently from mass urbanization in the 1970s as formerly rural residents of the surrounding region clustered around the newly-founded Yarmouk University, establishing businesses, building houses, and laying down infrastructures. The city has been transformed by waves of refugees beginning with Palestinians, followed by Iraqis, and most recently Syrians who now are more numerous in many neighborhoods than their Jordanian hosts. The city also hosts numerous economic migrants, working and studying both formally and informally, deriving from South and Southeast Asia, Egypt, and Europe in support of the many international humanitarian organizations that dot the city. This case looks at the transformation of the city of Irbid as an outcome of the forces of migration, urbanization, economic development, and globalization. It seeks to share the perspectives of both refugees living in Irbid and the many Jordanians who call them neighbors.
The authors are a Syrian resident of Irbid and a U.S.-citizen who has come to work, study, and live in Irbid over the past seven years.
Islamabad has some of the fastest growing slums in Pakistan, due to the influx of communities displaced by conflict and disaster as well as trends of rural-urban migration. It has received two waves of refugees from Afghanistan–first after the Soviet-Afghan war in the 1980s, and again after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. This case report will aim to examine the way that Afghan refugee children living in informal settlements have interacted with the local education system, the opportunities they have had, and what their options look like now that there has been a push towards repatriation.
The author is herself personally connected with the city of Islamabad.
Izmir's recent experience with refugee integration began not as a host city but as a transit city - a launching off point for Syrian refugees preparing to cross the Mediterranean by smuggler on the way to European destination countries. However, the closing of the Balkans Route, word of relatively poor reception for Syrians in the E.U., and deterrence legislation like the E.U.-Turkey Deal caused many refugees to settle in Izmir, rather than continuing onward.
Today, whole neighborhoods of Izmir are almost entirely Syrian, with pre-2012 migrants establishing businesses, apartment complexes, schools, community centers, and other services for more recent arrivals. The Izmir case report will draw from the experiences of Syrians living in Izmir, and their views on how a transit city has adapted to become a host city to refugees as geopolitical dynamics change.
The author is herself a Syrian refugee living in Izmir.
Afghanistan has been highly mobile population with strong nomadic roots, and seasonal migration as a main feature in the lives and livelihoods of many rural Afghans for centuries. Nevertheless, the dynamics of migration has changed, and the scale of mobility has increased due to conflicts that erupted in the late 1970s. Since then, mobility became a significant survival strategy, and millions of Afghans have been on the move either seeking refuge abroad or displaced internally.
Nangarhar province has received the highest number of returnees, the majority of whom have failed to go back to their place of origin due to deteriorating security, lack of jobs in rural areas, and lack of access to land. Access to land and regular housing has been recognized as a main pillar of the reintegration strategy for landless refugee returnees and IDPs by the government of Afghanistan. Therefore, a Land Allocation Scheme was launched in 2005 with the endorsement of the presidential decree 104 issued in the same year. The Jalalabad case report aims to provide a detailed picture of the returned population in Nangarhar province with focus on landless returnees, distributed plots, and the role of providing land to landless returnees in facilitating integration.
The author is a lifelong resident of Nangarhar Province and draws on his own experiences with migration and family displacement. You can read his article "What I observed when I was a refugee," in Oxford's Monitor of Forced Migration, here.
Johannesburg is one of the 50 largest urban agglomerations in the world with a population of 4,434,827. It attracts immigrants from all over the world, some of whom are forced immigrants from Malawi. Though separated by distance, forced immigrants from Malawi try to keep connected with their homes by sending financial help to people left behind.
This case report examines the significance of the financial help they send home through mobile money. The report seeks to describe economic activities that Malawi refugees engage in, and how mobile money providers are used to send money from Johannesburg to Mangochi. The case will also look into the economic significance of the value transfer to Mangochi.
The author is himself a migrant from Malawi who has integrated to the city of Johannesburg.
Lynn, a gateway city to Boston located on the North Shore, has historically been a city that has welcomed immigrants. Today, the city plays host to one of the most diverse populations in Massachusetts. Refugees began arriving in Lynn in the late 1980s, primarily from Cambodia, and have since arrived from over twenty different countries.
Roughly ten years ago, Lynn witnessed a surge in refugee arrivals, leading to the establishment of multiple agencies designed to address the service needs of the refugee population. However, in the last few years Lynn has seen increased economic development, and the cost of living has in turn risen drastically. Refugees and immigrants are facing displacement now more than ever, and little is being done at the local level to protect this population from being forced to search for new homes once again.
The author is an Iraqi migrant to the US, and draws on her and her community's experiences with integration to the city of Boston.
According to the community survey conducted by Statistics South Africa (2016), there are only 740 legally documented migrants in Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality (Stats SA, Census 2011). These migrants hold business, work, relative, retired, study, visitors’ waiver and refugee/ asylum permits. However, these are very conservative numbers: this case explores the interactions between host communities, documented migrants, and the numerous other migrants and refugees who were once documented but are now living in the country without any papers due to the challenges of legalizing one’s residence status in South Africa. The author, herself a migrant to Manguang, is exploring the range of successes and difficulties of integration for refugees and migrants who face numerous socio-economic challenges from the city specifically and South Africa generally.
Due to its geographic position, since 2014 the city of Milan has been a transit hub for people seeking to reach European countries in the north. However, since 2016, European laws and the closing of borders made Milan a de facto destination place for asylum seekers.
In 2017, Milan was hosting more than 6,000 asylum seekers, whose main goals is getting a job to have an income and support families in origin countries. However, these migrants face a wide range of obstacles to integration: bureaucracy, language, access to information, education, and culture are major preventive factors. For some refugees, integration into the labor force can be a long process taking years. Involvement in the grey market of informal jobs may present an opportunity to overcome these hurdles. As a result, new networks and projects have arisen with the aim of facilitating entry in the labor market.
This case report will explore these barriers, and the experiences of refugees in search of employment. It will describe services provided in Milan by public institutions, private companies, associations, and non-profit institutions. Which factors are perceived as obstacles for refugees to get actively involved? To what degree do refugees rely on informal networks such as their own community or local friends versus formal institutions? The author seeks to answer these questions to improve integration in Milan, the participatory approach, and service delivery of Milan’s humanitarian community. He is a longtime resident of the city.
Since the '90s, Monterrey, Mexico has been a transit point in the migratory route of Central Americans to the United States. The conditions of poverty and violence in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala have intensified the exodus of people from their communities of origin. On the other hand, the externalization of borders and policies of interdiction in destination and transit countries has modified the routes and destinations of migrants.
As a result, cities such as Monterrey—very close to the border with the United States—are now perceived by migrants as a new point of arrival because of the economic opportunities that the city offers. In recent years Monterrey's residents have encountered different faces of migration: those who transit, who remain (without regular documentation, with visas, or as refugees). Through this case we observe the strategies that people who stay in the city develop to face the trauma of violence; the resources they use to integrate to the labor dynamics of the city; the strategies they use to access medical and health services; and the local actors who facilitate these integration processes.
The authors are all longtime residents of Monterrey.
An armed conflict broke out in eastern Ukraine at the beginning of 2014. When the Government of Ukraine lost control over some parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, two self-proclaimed republics were organized, and the national government evacuated some state institutions to the territory it still controlled. Pokrovsk (former Krasnoarmiysk) in the Donetsk region became one of the host cities. The population of the city is now 75,000 people, which has grown by 15% since the beginning of the conflict in 2014 due to internal migration.
The RIT Pokrovsk case report focuses on the impact of internal migration on the community of the host city. Before 2014 Pokrovsk was a small industrial city with the only one city-forming enterprise: a colliery. Most of the internal migrants to Pokrovsk have seen war, poverty, intolerance, corruption, and propaganda from both sides of the conflict, but they have not lost their optimism, faith, and hope for the future.
One key change was the relocation of one of the largest and oldest technical universities in Ukraine, that came with several thousand students, faculty, and staff into Pokrovsk, changing life in the city. In fact, due to the characteristics of one of the largest groups of Internally Displaced People in Pokrovsk—members of an academic community—the scientific, cultural, and social life of the city has become much more exciting and vibrant. The author, a faculty member of this university, draws on her own experiences with resettlement in Pokrovsk.
In San José a group of young people started organizing gastro-cultural exchanges all over the city with the goal of providing a new experience, which they call “citizenship of the world,” in support of the belief that Costa Rican cities should be places that integrate refugees, immigrants and citizens. During the turbulent 1970s and 1980s, when civil wars roiled much of the region from El Salvador and Nicaragua to Colombia, Costa Rica remained a haven of peace, keeping its doors open to those at risk.
The country has developed a standout system of protection allowing refugees to flourish, with legal guarantees of two asylum appeals and the right to work and attend schools while their petitions are processed. Through the “Living Integration” program, refugees and asylum seekers are also given employment skills training, access to job fairs, and support to set up their own businesses. While Costa Rica has traditionally welcomed South American asylum seekers, it is increasingly receiving applications from Salvadorans, Hondurans, and Guatemalans fleeing extreme gang violence. Asylum requests from these countries have increased 319% in the last two years alone. This case report explores integration from the perspective of one of San José’s “Citizens of the World,” experiencing the challenges and opportunities for migrant integration at the local level.
The authors are a team of two lifetime residents of San Jose, and one migrant who has lived in the city now for several years.
When Germany opened its doors to refugees in 2015, hundreds of thousands of Syrians, Iraqis, and Central Asian mixed migrants crossed into the country. Despite positive humanitarian intentions, Germany has struggled to provide the housing, language training, employment opportunities, schooling, and social connectivity that refugee integration requires, while reception among German host communities has covered the full spectrum of responses from welcoming, to cold, to complete xenophobia.
For refugees stuck in the backlog of the settlement process, integration means prolonged holding on the outskirts of urban centers in crowded temporary housing with limited connectivity to German communities. This case report of refugees' personal experiences with integration compliments the Hamburg, Germany, case study by revealing conditions of refugees struggling to find belonging in the city.
The author is a Syrian currently living outside of Stuttgart.
Turkey has experienced its largest influx of Syrians, almost 3 million refugees, since 2011. Different than many refugee-receiving countries, where refugees are placed in camps upon their arrival, in Turkey, more than 90% of all refugees live in cities. In the early stages of the conflict, Syrians were mostly clustered in Southern Turkey, at areas close to the Syrian border. As the protracted nature of the crisis has become apparent in time, they started to move to the big cities such as Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir.
This report looks at "social capital" as a resource refugees use and generate to improve their ability to integrate to the city. It also looks at changes to the city, and the shifting political loyalties and action of Syrian refugees living in Istanbul.
The author is herself a lifetime resident of Istanbul.
Tel Aviv, a thriving metropolitan city on the Mediterranean coast of Israel, is home to half of the Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seeking population in Israel that currently totals about 37,000. The Tel Aviv case report focuses on Levinsky Park (pictured above), that the writers consider the geographical and symbolic capital of the city's refugee community. When asylum seekers first arrived in Israel, they were sent in the direction of Tel Aviv’s central bus station down the street from this park. It is where many asylum seekers settled during their first days in Tel Aviv, and started to build their lives.
Today, asylum seekers rent apartments, run businesses, religious institutions, community centers and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in the surrounding streets and neighborhoods of South Tel Aviv.
The authors are themselves two migrant arrivals to Tel Aviv who draw on their own experiences with integration.
Lebanon has experienced an influx of 1.5 million Syrians since 2011, representing almost a quarter of its population. The challenges this influx creates have been particularly intense in Tripoli―Lebanon’s second largest city and the urban center of the northern governorate. This case study explores how the Syrian influx has affected Tripoli, with a focus on urban poverty.
The report is written by a research team, two graduate students who have spent extensive time living and working in Tripoli, and one longtime resident of the city.
For more quality research on forced migration in the Middle East, visit the Middle East Research Information Project (MERIP).
This case report explores two unique and yet overlapping experiences with integration: Syrian refugees resettled in the U.S., and Central and South American migrants (many of them under Temporary Protected Status) living in the same or bordering neighborhoods of Washington, D.C. among other diverse migrant groups, urban residents, and the thousands of commuters from the surrounding suburbs of Maryland and Virginia. Washington, D.C. is then both the home of recent exclusivist migration policies, and home to thousands of migrants from a diversity of backgrounds.
The report is being conducted and written by a research team consisting of an American citizen, a Salvadoran migrant, and a Syrian migrant. It benefits from each of their unique perspectives and social networks.