Libya: Socio-economic survey of refugees and migrants in Libya



The political instability which started in 2011 has worsened the lives of people in Libya. Ninety percent of people crossing the Mediterranean depart from Libya and UNHCR estimates that 803,000 people in Libya need humanitarian assistance. The displaced – asylum seekers, refugees – and migrants are amongst the most vulnerable. The COVID pandemic has increased the peril of these people.

Migrants and displaced people in Libya tend to be excluded from social protection, formal labor market and financing services. There is no systematic study on the socio-economic conditions of refugees, IDPs or other vulnerable people. Given their potential to effect Libya’s stability, and the economic and social consequences for neighboring countries, better data and analysis are needed. This research aims to combine host community data with data on refugees and migrants, to inform the World Bank, UNHCR, WFP and IOM social protection engagement in Libya as well as form the basis for an integrated monitoring system that captures hosts, refugees, migrants, and IDPs.


Access and movement restrictions, instability and insecurity render data collection in Libya extremely difficult and something that has been considered in the implementation of this activity. For that reason, High Frequency Phone Survey (HFPS) methodology will be used to collect data on refugees. A panel of approximately 2,000 refugee respondents will be interviewed four times at regular intervals. At the same time, a panel of about 1,500 migrants will also be interviewed, mixing in-person and phone surveys. The data collection on migrants and refugees will be conducted using common protocols, methodologies, instruments.

The surveys will focus on household composition and individual characteristics (age, sex, areas of origin, levels of education, occupation, language, ethnicity, housing tenure) as well as migration routes and expenses incurred, information on types of vulnerabilities, migration/movements motives, future intentions, standard of living , risks confronted and length of displacement and movement as well as information on support networks and coping mechanisms in place. The data will then be compared to that of Libyan households to enable joint analysis of the socioeconomic conditions of migrants, refugees, and host communities.

Across all the topics, comparative analysis of the experiences of migrants and refugees across different countries of origin will be undertaken with particular attention given to the twelve Sustainable Development Goals that are prioritized for displaced populations.


The main objective of the activity is to start creating a solid base of socioeconomic data on migrants, refugees, IDPS and host communities. This data will inform the engagement of the agencies in Libya and provide a starting point for robust analytical work. The data will be made publicly available, to facilitate the production of evidence-based knowledge by researchers and practitioners.


An interagency coordination mechanism among UNHCR, World Bank, IOM, WFP and JDC has already been established and the agencies have agreed on the methodology and implementation.


For further details on the JDC support for this activity, please contact:


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