At the present time the world is grappling with an unprecedented refugee crisis especially due to instability and destruction in Syria. A large number of refugees have now run away to neighboring countries of Turkey, Lebanon and Jordon but since many are neither finding any permanent shelter there nor work or assured food year after year and children are having to grow up without any reasonable avenues of education many have started making their way towards Europe, the only nearby region at peace accessible to the refugees. Just today on the media a Minister from Hungary has said that Europe must not be made to suffer the burden alone but being an International issue it should be shared by the world, this being an International problem. The proposal is up for discussion in UN soon.

The question then arises is that if the world agreed to share the refugee burden how should they be distributed? Some countries are too poor or too small to accept any refugees; some have their own huge populations such as Bangladesh. There is a need to find a simple and just criterion that can measure the refugees absorption potential of any country in a fair and quick manner. In fact such a number is fairly simple to define realizing that the refugee absorption potential of different countries is proportional to their GDP and Land area and inversely proportional to their own population. Thus we may define the Refugee Absorption Potential Number, RAP as

RAP = GDP x Land Area of Country / Population of Country

Stated in words this criterion is simply saying the following:

The more the GDP of a country the more capacity it has to take in refugees, and more the existing population density of a country the less its capacity to accept refugees.

The land area may be measured in square kilometers and GDP is millions of US Dollars.  With the present units the right order of magnitude of numbers is obtained with 1 refugee for the least able countries and in thousands for the most able with a total of around 1.5 million.  Thus if a country has twice the RAP number as compared to another country it has the potential to absorb twice the number of refugees. It is a different matter if it agrees to or not. Countries that agree to opt in and share the burden then may share a given number of refugees in proportions of their RAP numbers.

It would be nice if someone out there can calculate the RAP number for all the countries of the world, so that the world may view the potential in this regard of different countries that make up our world. Perhaps the Hungarian Minister can do the calculation quickly and present it to the UN. Some quick approximate ones are presented next for the purpose of illustration for a few countries only.


as an illustration an approximate calculation of RAP was done to distribute 1.4 million refugees according to RAP. This is only a first approximate attempt for illustration and if the proposal is used, fresh accurate ones must be done with recent data. The present calculation was also a quick one with no time to check carefully and may have errors.  The input data is as online at: http://doheth.co.uk/info/countries-of-the-world.php