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IOM Iraq DTM Return Index: Findings Round Fifteen (April 2022)

Publication date


The Return Index is a tool designed to measure the severity of conditions in locations of return. Data collection for the Return Index Round 15 took place between the months of January and March 2022 across eight governorates, 38 districts and 2,165 locations in Iraq. During Round 15, three additional locations of return were assessed, but the overall number of locations remained the same due to families displacing from two locations previously assessed in Round 14 and the combination of two locations into one in Round 15.


• Out of the 2,165 return locations assessed, 453 present severe conditions hosting 12 per cent of the returnee population, or 581,112 individuals.

• A decrease of 20,802 returnees living in severe or poor conditions has been observed since the round collected between October and December 2021, when 12 per cent of the returnee population (601,914 individuals) were in severe conditions.

• The largest decreases were recorded in Anbar (12,780) and Diyala (8,478), while the largest increase was observed in Kirkuk (498). In Anbar, the largest decreases were observed in Heet and Ramadi districts. The decrease in high severity in Heet and Ramadi was related to housing reconstruction. In Diyala, the largest decrease was recorded in Al-Muqdadiya - driven by housing reconstruction and the recovery of local businesses – and in Khanaqin, driven by improved access to water and electricity. In Kirkuk, the largest increase was in Al-Hawiga, where slow recovery of business, challenges accessing employment and blocked returns impacted locations of return.

• Ninewa and Salah al-Din remain the governorates hosting the highest number of returnees living in severe conditions, with 260,256 and 206,814 individuals respectively.

• Salah al-Din and Diyala host the highest proportions of returnees living in severe conditions (28% and 15% respectively)


• Sixty-eight locations hosting 77,418 returnees were identified as having the most severe return conditions in this round. The top five of these locations are in Telafar in Ninewa and Baiji district in Salah al-Din Governorate.

• One fewer location was observed with the most severe return conditions since the round collected between October and December 2021, when 75,540 individuals were living in 69 locations with the most severe conditions.


The Return Index is based on 16 indicators divided into two scales: Scale 1, on livelihoods and basic services, and Scale 2, centered around social cohesion and safety perceptions. A regression model is used to assess the impact of each of the indicators in facilitating or preventing returns and to calculate scores for two scales. For example, the model tests how much less likely a location where no agricultural activities have recovered is to have returns compared to a location where they have recovered. To compute an overall severity index, the scores of the two scales are combined.

The index ranges from 0 (all essential conditions for return are met) to 100 (no essential conditions for return are met). Higher scores denote more severe living conditions for returnees. The scores of the severity index are grouped into three categories: low, medium and high (which also includes very high).

Refer to the report “Methodological Overview” for more details on the methodology