The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) described in an annual report on the 70.8 million refugees as "conservative," especially since those who fled the stifling crisis in Venezuela were not fully counted.
At the end of 2017, 68.5 million people were forced to flee their homes because of violence or persecution.
UNHCR attributed the growing number to continued displacement in Ethiopia because of ethnic conflicts, and in Venezuela, where thousands flee every day amid an economic collapse caused the shortages of food and medicine.
The United Nations estimated the number of people who fled Venezuela since the beginning of 2016 about 3.3 million people.
Commission President Filippo Grandi told reporters in Geneva that the number 70.8 million only included Venezuelans, who formally applied for asylum about half a million people.
Overall, the number of displaced people in the world has doubled in the last 20 years as a result of violence in some areas.