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Refugee and Migrant Children in Europe: Accompanied, Unaccompanied and Separated: Overview of Trends (January - December 2021)

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Arrivals to Europe in 20211

In 2021, 24,147 children arrived in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Malta and Spain. Of these, 17,185 (71%) were unaccompanied or separated children (UASC). Child arrivals increased by 44% in 2021 compared to 2020 (16,700).

Greece

Some 2,258 children arrived by land and sea in 2021,3 51% fewer than the previous year (4,602) in line with a broader decline in overall arrivals compared to 2020. Of these, 638 were UASC (28%), 29% fewer than in 2020 (895). Most of the children, including UASC, were from Afghanistan, Syrian Arab Republic,
Somalia, and Iraq.

Bulgaria

Some 3,730 children lodged an asylum application in 2021, 85% of whom were UASC (3,172). Most of these asylum-seeking children originated from Afghanistan, Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic.6

Spain

In 2021, some 4,173 children were estimated to have arrived by sea, a 7% increase compared to 2020 (3,890).4 Of these, 2,856 were UASC (68%), 14% fewer than in 2020 (3,340). According to estimates, most of the children, including UASC, originated from Morocco, Algeria, Côte d'Ivoire and Mali.

Malta

In 2021, some 2487 children, including 205 UASC (83%), arrived following search and rescue operations at sea. The number of child arrivals, including UASC, in 2021 was 59% lower compared to 2020 (610). Most of the children, including UASC, originated from Egypt, Eritrea and the Syrian Arab Republic.

Italy

More than twice the number of children arrived in 2021 (13,203) compared to 2020 (6,252). Of these, 76% (10,053) were UASC, a proportion consistent with recent years.
Most of the children, including UASC, originated from Tunisia, Egypt, Bangladesh and Côte d'Ivoire.5

Cyprus

Some 535 children arrived by sea in 2021, including 261 UASC. All of the children, including UASC, who arrived by sea originated from the Syrian Arab Republic.