Datavisualisation uses cookies. What are cookies? Got it!
Migration to Europe causes many deaths.
This interactive data visualization shows, based on the incidents, where, when, and how many humans died or went missing between 2000 and 2019.

by Katharina Mayrhofer and Julia Singer

loading data...
The full functionality of the data visualization is only available on desktop devices.

About the projectabout the ContextHelp


The aim of this data visualization is to discover the events of humans failing to reach Europe between 2000 and 2019. It allows readers to visualise incidents and the resulting casualties across common routes, accompanied by annotations that provide context and political background. Every incident is then further explained by a tooltip that gives deeper information about not just the deaths but also missing humans.


Two datasets were merged to create this data visualization. Some data was not used as it was pertaining to different geographical areas or not relevant. Discrepancies in the data sets were not corrected as we felt it inappropriate to edit or manipulate the data itself. This is often the case with geographical coordinates due the methodology used.
2000 - 2016
This set includes data until June 2016. The field "missing Humans" is collected since 2011.
2016 - 2019
This set includes data beginning in June 2016.
It is also important to consider that these numbers are minimum estimates and many deaths or cases of missing persons are never reported.


She is a visual and information designer with a fondness for data visualization. In her work she takes a playful and conceptual approach.
She works at the interface of code and design, specializing in interactive media installations and generative design based on data.


Manuel Weißenberger
annotations, context and political background
proofreading and translation
Martin Pum
data processing/preparation
Thanks to
our loved ones!

Tina Frank and Clemens Schrammel

Impressum ©2019

Katharina Mayrhofer, Julia Singer
Linz, Austria, Europe
Attribution - Non-commercial - Disclosure under the same conditions
This license allows others to distribute, remix, enhance and build upon your work, but only non-commercially and as long as you are named as the author of the original and the new works based on your work are published under the same terms.
Google Analytics
On this website we use Google Analytics from Google LLC (1600 Amphitheatre Parkway Mountain View, CA 94043, USA) to statistically evaluate visitor data. Google Analytics uses target-oriented cookies for this purpose.
Our website contains links to other websites for the content of which we are not responsible.

About the projectabout the ContextHelp

Historical Summary

At the latest since 2015, when the tabloid media first spoke of a refugee crisis, migration has been the subject of extremely controversial discussions in the media and has quickly become the number one political issue in almost every European country. The main reason for this was the large group of Syrian refugees on their way to Central and Western Europe along the Western Balkans route, which brought the logistics of the European authorities to the edge of their capacities. At the center of these developments in Europe was German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who for many personified the readiness to welcome refugees and enabled a land route over the Balkans. The German philosopher Wolfram Eilenberger said that Europe should not linger in its glass dome; after all, the problems of the world become visible precisely in those migratory movements.

Various complex issues and
conflicts in Africa

Since the beginning of the postcolonial era, many African states had to carry a heavy legacy with them that has led to a multitude of issues. West African economies can only absorb the high population growth to a limited extent. Constant political instability through structural dependence on the global North and ecological crises further dampen the prospects of young people. In East Africa, on the other hand, there are tribal wars in Somalia, Southern Sudan and Ethiopia, and Eritreans are fleeing an extremely totalitarian dictatorship.

Arab Spring ended in Arab Winter

In the Middle East and North Africa region, high youth unemployment, droughts (due to climate change) and corruption of long reigning regimes led to protests – called by Western media the “Arab Spring” – that only in Tunisia ended in democracy. These protests and uprisings did not lead to permanent changes as war broke out in Libya, Syria and Yemen, and a military dictatorship was set up in Egypt with the help of the USA and Saudi Arabia. These conflicts were subsequently named the “Arab Winter”. All these events first led to flight movements within the region and then continued into Europe, where many migrants and refugees already had some friends or relatives. The tightening of the EU's entry rights and the expansion of the privatized border authority Frontex (the European Border and Coast Guard Agency) have made it increasingly difficult for people to reach Europe legally, thus promoting riskier routes.

Refugees were faced with many fatal dangers

The subsequent civil war in Libya not only left a lawless area in which refugee smuggling flourished, but also led to an extremely racist climate towards black Africans. Refugees are thus exposed to several dangers. On one hand they must remain hidden from official authorities, on the other hand they are put into camps where they are usually abused, tortured, raped or even enslaved. This makes them vulnerable to smugglers who can also put them in camps and send them to Europe on overcrowded boats without personnel. Travelling through deserts also poses many risks and dangers – without equipment many starve and suffer from diseases, for which they have no medicine. Car accidents, raids by gangs and fraud are also frequent causes of death.

On sea most people die because of faulty vessels, which are overcrowded and barely equipped and then sent on a 200km long journey across high seas. Distress at sea is usually caused by restlessness, panic, bad weather or simply a lack of petrol.

Understanding these casualties

Despite the complexities of these political conflicts, social issues and historical backgrounds, the core issue remains a simple question: Why is escaping to Europe so deadly for so many humans? Why does the escape to Europe cost so many lives? The history of these deaths is a history of migration, economic dependence and conflict. The first step to understanding this history is discovering the fates of humans who failed when they tried to reach Europe.

About the ProjectAbout the ContextHelp


The data visualization consists of four parts: the main navigation, the chart, filter options, and the legend.
The main navigation, consisting of the three central question; filter options, categorising different aspects;the chart, showing the graphs and detailed information;and the legend, explaining the graphs as well as giving detailed numbers.

Main Navigation

Here the three central questions are shown. Clicking each question changes the data shown and gives a detailed answer.
How many humans died or went missing? Chart1The bar graph gives an overview of the number of dead and missing humans from 2000 to 2019. Each year shows all incidents occurring therein.
Where did the incidents happen? Chart2The map locates the incidents geographically and shows the most important routes to Europe. The map uses the Molleweide projection.
How many humans are involed each accident? Chart3This graph shows how many humans are involved per incident and points out single incidents with very high numbers of casualties.


How to read the chartelements?
legende Humans
each element shows 1 incident
the height represents the number of dead and missing humans
each dot represent 1 incident
missing Humans
The number of missing Humans has only be documented since 2011.
Each line shows the approximate path of a route.
The legend changes depending on the filter options.
The legend shows how many humans died or went missing between 2000 and 2019.
The legend shows how many casualties happened on land or on water (seas, rivers, lakes etc.)
The legend shows how many humans died or went missing on each of the routes. There are six main routes, as well as a category for all other locations or unnamed routes.
While highlighting a single year, only the casualties from that year are shown in the legend.

Elements of the chart

How to read the numbers above the bars?
Each number above/below the bars in the first question gives the total of dead and missing humans for each year.

Hovering the element shows a tooltip with deeper information about the incident.
Below the description, a bar displays the ratio of dead to missing humans for the selected incident
Selecting an icon shows annotations that give context and political background.

The grey sections highlight significant periods that influenced migration to Europe.

Filter Options

The filters can be applied to every question and reorganize and recategorize the incidents shown in the graphs.

How to focus on different aspects/categories
This option shows all casualties from 2000 to 2019.
This option categorizes the incidents based on common routes.
This option differentiates between incidents occurring on land and on water.
Use the annotations for context and political background.
Use the arrows to hightlight different years.
Use the All YEAR Button to reset the highlight.

How to zoom the charts

All charts and maps can be zoomed in and out.

Use your mousewheel to zoom in and out in the chart.

Use the buttons in the bottom right corner to zoom in and out.

Pinch the screen to zoom in and out.
All charts can be moved around using the mouse, trackpad or touchscreen.

Click and drag to shift the chart

Swipe your touchscreen to shift the chart
Scroll icons made by Pixel perfect from is licensed by CC 3.0 BY

Filter options
Filter options

filter All
Use the filters to display different information.

Read annotations for context and political background.

Hightlight year

all years
Use the arrows to highlight different years.
How to read the chart
How to read the chart

legend Shows migration casualties on the way to Europe between 2000 and 2019

dead and missing humans

how to read the chartelements
each element shows 1 incident
the height represents the number of dead and missing humans
each dot of the chart represents 1 incident
each dot of the chart represents 1 incident
legende routes

legende image
missing Humans
data since 2011
legende arrow
hover over the symbol to read annotations

skip Animation