Before independence, many Rwandans, compelled by famine and underemployment, migrated to neighboring Zaire (now DROC), Uganda, and Tanzania. The Hutu and Tutsi political quarrels have caused numerous Tutsi to flee their homeland, many of them going to Burundi, where there were 245,600 refugees at the end of 1992. In the mid-1960s, nearly 400,000 Rwandans were listed as permanent residents of Uganda. Some 85,800 Rwandan refugees were in Uganda at the end of 1992.
With renewed violence in 1994, one half of Rwanda's 7.5 million population was forced to flee their homes. Of these displaced persons, 2.4 million refugees fled to neighboring countries. In 1996, violence in Burundi forced 100,000 Rwandans to repatriate. After the civil war in the DROC in October of 1996, 720,000 of the 1.1 million Rwandan refugees were forced to repatriate. In 1996 and early 1997, Tanzania returned 480,000 Rwandan refugees from its western regions. Another 10,000 returned from Uganda. In addition, one million refugees who left Rwanda in the 1950s and 1960s have also returned since 1994. By the end of 1997, fewer than 100,000 Rwandans remained outside the country; some 30,000 of these in the DROC were expected to return.
As of 1999, Rwanda hosted some 36,000 refugees and asylum-seekers, including Congolese, Burundi, Somalis, Ethiopians, and Sudanese. More than 30,000 refugees from the DROC were situated in two camps, Kiziba in Kibuye Prefecture and Gihembe in Byumba Prefecture. There was also an urban group of refugees and asylum-seekers in Kigali. In 2000 the net migration rate was 62.8 migrants per 1,000 population, a significant change from -58.4 per 1,000 in 1990.