FAO presents the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and it plays a critical role in improving the level of nutrition and agricultural production, as well as life in the rural communities. The organization is dedicated to collecting, analysing, interpreting and disseminating food and agriculture statistics that are relevant for decision-making.
In today’s article, we’re going to cover all the FAO data and statistics about the global problems of hunger and food insecurity.
Find out all the info regarding these issues.
8 Key FAO Hunger Statistics & Facts (Editor’s Pick)
- 842 million people globally are suffering from chronic hunger.
- 827 million hungry people live in developing regions.
- Almost 10% of the world population is undernourished.
- 2.37 billion people couldn’t get healthy, nutritious food in 2020.
- Almost 20 million children suffer from severe acute malnutrition.
- Southern Asia has the highest prevalence of wasting.
- Food insecurity is 10% higher among women.
- In 2019, more than 30% of women in Asia and Africa had anaemia.
24 FAO Hunger Statistics
1. More than 840 million people are suffering from chronic hunger.
According to the data from the survey conducted by FAO, 842 million people globally are suffering from chronic hunger. That means that around 1 in 8 people in the world regularly aren’t getting enough food which is needed to conduct an active and healthy life. For comparison, in Europe, there is nearly twice as much food as is required by the nutritional need of the population.
2. Up to 811 million people faced hunger in 2020.
The FAO survey stated that during 2020, between 720 million and 811 million people in the world faced hunger. The reasons for such a high range of numbers are mostly the negative impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the ongoing conflict in some countries, unstable political and economic situation, and poverty.
3. The majority of hungry people live in developing regions.
The majority of hungry people, 827 million of them, live in developing regions. There, poverty and conflict are the main drivers of food shortages, food insecurity, hunger, and starvation. In developing regions, the prevalence of undernourishment is estimated at 14.3%.
4. There was a 1.5% increase in the prevalence of undernourished people.
As we already mentioned, the number of people in the world who faced hunger in 2020 was massively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The prevalence of undernourishment hasn’t changed between 2014 and 2019. However, once the pandemic came, the prevalence climbed to 9.9% in 2020, compared with 8.4% in 2019. In numbers, there were 768 million undernourished people in 2020, while in 2019, 650.3 million people.
5. Millions of more hungry people in 2020.
In 2020, there were 118 million people more who suffer from hunger and starvation, compared with the previous 2019 year. This number is estimated to grow even higher due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the already unstable economic situation, especially in developing countries.
6. Asia has 418 million hungry people.
Developing countries are having the biggest problems with hunger and starvation. More than half of the people in the world who are affected by hunger, or in number, 418 million of them, are in Asia, while more than one-third of them, or 282 million people, live in Africa. Asia and Africa have the highest ranks of hunger.
7. Almost 57 million more hungry people in Asia.
If we compare high numbers of hunger from 2020 to 2019, there are 46 million more hungry people in Africa and almost 57 million more of them in Asia. In Latin America and the Caribbean, there are 14 million more people who were suffering from hunger in 2020. These are extremely high increases of hungry people and they came to be in a one-year time frame!
8. In 2020, nearly one in three people in the world did not have access to adequate food.
In 2020, there was a high increase in people without access to adequate food. According to the FAO data, nearly one in three people, or in specific numbers, 2.37 billion of them, couldn’t get healthy, nutritious food. Such food is much-needed on a daily basis. That is called food insecurity and the high number presents an increase of almost 320 million more people in just one year period.
9. Food insecurity is on a rise.
Speaking of food insecurity, it has been on the rise since 2014. However, the increase hasn’t been that high and massive as it was between 2019 and 2020. The high increase of 320 million people in one year is a staggering increase which is equal to the previous five years combined.
10. Almost 10% of the world population is undernourished.
Undernourishment means that person doesn’t get enough food or doesn’t get enough healthy food needed for good health, growth, and development. According to FAO, 9.9% of the world population is undernourished. That is 1 in every 10 people or in a specific number – the world has 768 million undernourished people.
11. There are 282 million undernourished people in Africa.
Out of the total number of undernourished people in the world in 2020, 60 million of them live in Latin America and the Caribbean, 282 million in Africa, and 418 million in Asia. Africa and Asia are fighting the highest ranks of starvation, as well as hunger-related deaths.
12. One-third of the developing world population suffers from micronutrient deficiencies.
Micronutrient deficiencies can cause several serious health issues such as blindness, mental retardation, and early death. Malnutrition is caused by hunger and starvation, as well as the lack of much-needed vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
13. Malnutrition takes almost 10 million lives every year.
Malnutrition is a terrible disease that is associated with increased mortality. Around 9 million people die of hunger and hunger-related diseases every year and malnutrition is the largest contributor to those deaths.
14. Millions of children die of malnutrition every year.
Children in developing countries are amongst the most vulnerable group. Almost 5 million of them under the age of five die of malnutrition-related causes every single year. Kids are deprived of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients needed to maintain healthy tissues and organ function.
15. Almost 20 million preschool-age children suffer from severe acute malnutrition.
Severe acute malnutrition is defined by very low weight for height. This is both a medical and social disorder. It impacts children’s weight, stunted growth, and immune system, children are weakened and their bodies can’t fight infections. Severe acute malnutrition mostly affects children in Africa and South-East Asia.
16. Africa and Asia have the highest number of children fighting malnutrition.
Speaking of Africa and South-East Asia, children there are highly affected by malnutrition and other hunger-related diseases. These two regions account for more than 9 out of 10 of all children with stunting. Also, they have 9 out of 10 children with wasting. Children are truly in a terrible situation there regarding poverty, hunger, and starvation to death.
17. Southern Asia has the highest prevalence of wasting.
In 2020, there were 4.7% of 45.4 million children under the age of 5 who were wasted. Nearly one-quarter of those children lived in Sub-Saharan Africa and more than half in Southern Asia. Southern Asia is the subregion with the highest prevalence of wasting. It has above 14% of wasted children.
18. The cost to the economy caused by malnutrition could face an increase.
Malnutrition impacts the economy too. According to the hunger facts provided by FAO, the cost to the economy caused by malnutrition could be up to 5% of GDP. That would be $3.5 trillion per year or $500 per person.
19. More than 30% of the world population is food insecure.
Food insecurity is defined as the disruption of food intake. It is mostly caused by low incomes and poverty. Food insecurity is a big problem and according to the FAO, the rates of moderate or severe food insecurity has been increasing slowly for more than 6 years now. The FAO data states that food insecurity affects more than 30% of the world population.
20. Healthy diets are out of reach for 3 billion people.
Healthy food costs a lot of money. Due to that, it was out of reach for around 3 billion people in every region in the world in 2019, especially for those people who are poor. This number is slightly less than in 2017, however, it will definitely be even more increased by the end of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, conflict, and climate change.
21. In 2020, food insecurity was 10% higher among women.
Globally, the gender gap in the prevalence of severe or moderate food insecurity has grown in these years of the COVID-19 pandemic. The prevalence of severe or moderate food insecurity is 10% higher among women than in men in 2020. For the comparison, that percentage was 6% in 2019.
22. Almost 30% of women in the world were suffering from anaemia in 2019.
Anaemia is a condition in which the number of red blood cells or the haemoglobin levels within them is lower than normal. The most common causes of anaemia include nutrition deficiencies or to be more precise, iron deficiency, and vitamin B12 and A. 29.9% of women aged 15 to 49 were affected by anaemia in the world in 2019. More than 30% of women in Asia and Africa were suffering from anaemia and only 14.6% of women in Northern America and Europe had this health problem.
23. COVID-19 may massively impact the world population.
COVID-19 pandemic may have lasting effects on the world, especially in developing countries with unstable politics and economies. FAO’s predictions estimated that around 660 million people may face hunger in 2030. That prediction pointed out 30 million more people than in a scenario in which the pandemic had not occurred. The number of people facing hunger may be close to double the current population of the United States or triple that of Brazil.
24. By 2050, there will be demand for a 60% increase in global food production.
According to the data provided by FAO, by 2050, the global population is predicted to rise up to 9.3 billion people. That demands a 60% increase in global food production. Besides, that also means million and million of poor and hungry people more. These are quite terrifying predictions.
To Wrap It Up
FAO is an organization that fights on a daily basis for the Right to Food as a human right guaranteed in the constitution and frameworks. The organization’s goal is to ensure safe, good food for everyone. By now, it helped halve the number of hungry in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as millions of other people who need food assistance. The organization is working all over the world and no doubt it will help a high number of poor, hunger, and starving people.