Introducing the New Annual Survey of Refugees (ASR) 2020

March 9, 2021
| Nicol Valdez
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Historically, refugees to the United States were aided in their resettlement by churches or other community organizations. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter signed the Refugee Act in recognition of the need for government to assist immigrants needing resettlement when fleeing their home country. ACF’s Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) was established from this legislation to assist refugees, defined as any person that experienced life-threatening persecution and either voluntarily or forcibly fled their home country.

Part of ORR’s mandate is to annually report to Congress on the state of the refugee population. The Annual Survey of Refugees (ASR) helps provide information for this yearly report.

In 2016, OPRE, in partnership with ORR, the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), and the Urban Institute undertook a redesign and improvement effort to modernize and enhance the ASR.

The redesigned survey includes new thematic questions on refugee integration, including:

  • Experiences Before Arrival
  • Employment and Income
  • Well-being and Reception
  • Social Connections
  • Health Care Services

Graphic by Urban Institute

The redesigned survey also includes improvements to enhance data quality, including:  

  • A cross-sectional survey design, including 1,500 participants across three cohorts within their first five years of resettlement
  • Pretested new survey questions, developed with expert consultation
  • Improved use of a Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) program 
  • Efforts to create a culturally inclusive and sensitive surveyor experience by matching gender and race/ethnicity across interviewer and interviewee
  • Expanded language coverage and translations - ASR is the only nationally representative survey conducted in over 20 language of the most widely spoken languages by incoming refugees

The new ASR 2020 began recruiting participants in mid-January 2021 and will continue through April 2021.

Graphic by Urban Institute

We’re proud of this new survey, and are looking forward to sharing the results. In the meantime, you can view the approved questionnaire here Visit disclaimer page

You can access publicly available data sets from the prior version of the ASR here:

2016: https://www.openicpsr.org/openicpsr/project/104642/version/V4/view Visit disclaimer page

2017: https://www.openicpsr.org/openicpsr/project/117581/version/V1/view Visit disclaimer page

2018: https://www.openicpsr.org/openicpsr/project/131025/version/V1/v Visit disclaimer page

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