The research reveals a gulf between perception and reality on a number of fronts with American, British and French publics underestimating the number of Syrian refugees by staggering amounts (4.7 million, 4.5 million and 4.5 million respectively). Americans are similarly out of step with the rest of the world in their overall concern for forced migration, ranking it a distant seventh among the list of the world's most pressing humanitarian challenges.
Misinformation and cynicism dominate public perceptions about refugees, with the majority of the public confusing refugees with economic and other types of migrants. In Western countries, nearly the same number of people believe that asylum seekers move for aspirational reasons as those who believe they are doing so to escape conflict (63% and 70% respectively).
Globally, the public believes Syria is the country from which the most refugees have fled over the last decade. The public is not aware of the high volumes of refugees originating from various countries across Africa and Asia.
Despite more than one million refugees coming from Sudan and South Sudan combined, only 8% of the public recognize the scale of the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan. One in five Americans incorrectly pinpoint Mexico as the highest source of refugees globally, while Britain and France both overestimate the volume of refugees coming from Libya.
You can read more about the Aurora Humanitarian Index 2016 here.