Americans, Britons, French Don't Grasp Scale of Refugee Crisis: Report

Syrian migrant Yasmine
Yasmine, a 6-year-old migrant from Deir Al Zour in Syria, cries at the beach after arriving on the Greek island of Lesbos, September 11. A report says some Westerners underestimate the scale of the refugee crisis. Zohra Bensemra/Reuters

People in America, the U.K. and France wildly underestimate the scale of the refugee crisis, according to a new report.

A survey conducted by Edelman Intelligence for the Aurora Prize—a humanitarian award—found that the American, British and French populations miscalculated the number of refugees displaced from Syria by under 4.7 million, 4.5 million and 4.5 million respectively.

Americans ranked forced migration a distant seventh among the list of the world's most pressing humanitarian challenges.

In Britain, France and Germany, meanwhile, people believe their governments have done significantly more than they have to help ameliorate the crisis.

The U.K. public believes their country has taken twice as many Syrian refugees as they actually have. In France and Germany, estimates of the number of Syrians given asylum due to conflict are five times greater than the actual figures.

In Western countries, nearly as many people think that asylum seekers move for aspirational reasons as think they are doing so to escape conflict (63 percent and 70 percent respectively).

"What this report highlights is the urgent need to inform the public of the global refugee crisis; the defining humanitarian challenge of our time," said Dominic MacSorley, CEO of charity Concern Worldwide.