While great strides have been made towards fighting hunger and malnutrition, world hunger remains a persistent problem. Hunger is detrimental to developing countries, as it pushes impoverished families into a downward spiral and prevents further development. Here are 15 world hunger statistics.
- Approximately 842 million people suffer from hunger worldwide. That’s almost 12 percent of the world’s population of 7.1 billion people.
- Ninety-eight percent of those who suffer from hunger live in developing countries. 553 million live in the Asian and Pacific regions, while 227 million live in Sub-Saharan Africa. Latin America and the Caribbean account for 47 million.
- India has the highest population of hungry people. In 2014, over 190.7 million people were undernourished in India.
- Approximately 9 million people die of world hunger each year according to world hunger statistics; more than the death toll for malaria, AIDs and tuberculosis combined in 2012.
- Over 60 percent of the world hungry are women, who have limited access to resources because of the patriarchal societies in which they live.
- Because of the prevalence of hunger in women in developing countries, malnutrition is a leading cause of death for children. Approximately 3.1 million children die of hunger each year, and in 2011 poor nutrition accounted for 45 percent of deaths for children under five.
- Malnutrition is a primary symptom of hunger. Forty percent of preschool-age children are estimated to be anemic because of iron deficiency, and anemia causes 20 percent of all maternal deaths. In addition, it is estimated that 250 to 500 thousand children go blind from Vitamin A deficiency every year.
- Malnutrition causes stunting among children, a condition characterized by low height for a child’s age. In 2013, it was estimated that 161 million children under 5 were stunted worldwide.
- Malnutrition also causes wasting, a condition characterized by low weight for a child’s age. In 2013, it was estimated that 51 million children under 5 were wasted.
- Great strides have been made towards ending world hunger. The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations estimates that the total number of hungry people worldwide has been reduced by 216 million people since 1992.
- 11. The regions that have made the greatest progress towards ending world hunger have been Latin America and South-East Asia. Latin America reduced its hunger rate from 14.7 percent in 1990-1992 to 5.5 percent in 2012-2014, whereas South-East Asia reduced its hunger rate from 30.6 percent to 9.6 percent in the same period.
- One region that has shown little reduction in hunger has been Sub-Saharan Africa. While the hunger rate in this region fell 10 percent from 1992-2014, the number of hungry people has actually risen during this time period, from 175.7 million to 220 million.
- The world produces enough food to feed everyone. Food availability per capita has increased from approximately 2220 kcal per person per day in the 1960s to 2790 kcals per person per day in 2006.
- Poverty is the number one cause of world hunger. The World Bank estimates that 10.7 percent of the world’s population, or 767 million people, lived on less than $1.90 per day in 2013.
- Over 75 percent of the world poorest grow their own food. This causes widespread food insecurity in developing countries, as drought, climate change and natural disasters can easily cut off a family’s food supply.
World hunger has proven to be a difficult problem to solve, despite the efforts of many nations and organizations working to eradicate it. However, world hunger statistics show that great progress has been made towards reducing it, and regions such as East Asia, South-East Asia and Latin America have met the Millennium Development Goal for developing countries to cut their hunger rates in half by 2015. If efforts from organizations like USAID and UNICEF continue, even more progress can be made to fight world hunger.
– Chasen Turk