Tomorrow, July 2, marks World UFO Day.
UFO belief has long been considered a fringe phenomenon, but those who "want to believe" were given a boost in 2021 as U.S. intelligence services delivered an official report on "unidentified aerial phenomena" to Congress.
As Statista's Katharina Buchholz reports, it showed that of all 143 unexplained sightings between November 2004 and March 2021, only one UAP was later identified as a deflating balloon. In early 2023, another unclassified report by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence revealed 171 not yet identified flying objects out of 366 recorded between March 2021 and August 2022.
Considering the renewed buzz around UFOs - or UAPs - how have global UFO sightings been developing in recent years?
You will find more infographics at Statista
There is a National UFO Reporting Center in the United States which documents sightings of unexplained aerial phenomena all over the world and interestingly, sightings have been picking up again.
While there were two dips in 2018 and 2021, there were once more around 5,000 alleged UFO sightings in 2022.
This is still below peaks of 8,800 in 2014 and 7,400 in 2020 - when conspiracy beliefs were running high at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
In 2022, 17 percent of Americans said they thought it was likely that Aliens will visit Earth, just below the global average of 18 percent - and below responses recorded in India, China and Latin America.
As of May 2023, there have been close to 1,400 sightings, which could signaling a slower year for UFO reports.
Yet, with late reports always a possibility and interest in unidentified flying objects renewed in the aftermath of February's Chinese spy balloon sage, the jury on this year's UFO/UAP frequency is still "out there".