Every year, authors, journalists, teachers, researchers, schoolchildren and students ask us for statistics about hunger and malnutrition. To help answer these questions, we've compiled a list of useful facts and figures on world hunger.
- Some 795 million people in the world do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life. That's about one in nine people on earth.
- The vast majority of the world's hungry people live in developing countries, where 12.9 percent of the population is undernourished.
- Asia is the continent with the most hungry people - two thirds of the total. The percentage in southern Asia has fallen in recent years but in western Asia it has increased slightly.
- Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the highest prevalence (percentage of population) of hunger. One person in four there is undernourished.
- Poor nutrition causes nearly half (45%) of deaths in children under five - 3.1 million children each year.
- One out of six children -- roughly 100 million -- in developing countries is underweight.
- One in four of the world's children are stunted. In developing countries the proportion can rise to one in three.
- If women farmers had the same access to resources as men, the number of hungry in the world could be reduced by up to 150 million.
- 66 million primary school-age children attend classes hungry across the developing world, with 23 million in Africa alone.
- WFP calculates that US$3.2 billion is needed per year to reach all 66 million hungry school-age children.
- More than 820 million people worldwide are still going hungry, according to a UN report that says reaching the target of zero hunger by 2030 is “an immense challenge”.
- The number of people with not enough to eat has risen for the third year in a row as the population increases, after a decade when real progress was made. The underlying trend is stabilisation, when global agencies had hoped it would fall.
- Millions of children are not getting the nutrition they need. The UN says the pace of progress in halving child stunting and reducing the number of low birthweight babies is too slow, which jeopardises the chances of achieving another of the sustainable development goals.
Nearly half of all child deaths in Africa stem from hunger, study shows
The report is from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the UN Children’s Fund (Unicef), the World Food Programme and the World Health Organization.
- While hunger remains widespread, obesity – also related to malnutrition – continues to rise in all regions. There are 338 million school-age children and adolescents who are overweight and 672 million obese adults. Asia and Africa, which have nine out of 10 of all stunted children and more than nine out of 10 of all wasted children worldwide, are also home to nearly three-quarters of all overweight children worldwide, largely driven by unhealthy diets.
- One in seven babies around the world were born with low birthweight in 2015, the report says, many of them to adolescent mothers. That puts them at risk of poor development.
- The world’s population has steadily grown, with most people living in urban areas. Technology has “evolved at a dizzying pace, while the economy has become increasingly interconnected and globalised”, say the heads of the UN agencies in a foreword to the report.
- “Many countries, however, have not witnessed sustained growth as part of this new economy. The world economy as a whole is not growing as much as expected.”
- Climate breakdown is affecting agriculture and the number of farmers has declined. “All of this has led to major shifts in the way in which food is produced, distributed and consumed worldwide – and to new food security, nutrition and health challenges.”
- Hunger is increasing in countries where economic growth is lagging and there is income inequality.
- “Our actions to tackle these troubling trends will have to be bolder,” the UN leaders say. “We must foster pro-poor and inclusive structural transformation focusing on people and placing communities at the centre to reduce economic vulnerabilities and set ourselves on track to ending hunger, food insecurity and all forms of malnutrition
2019 - Hunger Map
WFP's Hunger Map depicts the prevalence of undernourishment in the population of each country in 2016-18. From Africa and Asia to Latin America and the Near East, there are 821 million people - more than 1 in 9 of the world population - who do not get enough to eat.
Destruction of the environment, drought, floods, loss of fertile land, destructive intensive agriculture