New update: number of people living in hunger on the rise

1024 427 The Hunger Project Australia

The number of people living in hunger is again on the rise.

After a long period of decline, this is now the fifth year in a row that the number of people living in hunger is increasing. The 2020 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) report released in July 2020 explores the ongoing rise in global hunger. Since the world committed to ending food insecurity and malnutrition in 2015, global hunger has steadily increased. While previous reports have focused on climate and economic barriers, this year’s report focuses on broadening the scope of food security and nutrition to include diets which are healthy and sustainable for all, especially for our environment.

Last year, SOFI reported 821.6 million people living in hunger. This year it is reporting 690 million living in hunger.

At first glance, this looks like a downward trend. This difference is due to a different use of data from China between 2000 and now. According to the new data from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), there is actually a significant increase. Once we’ve considered China’s data accuracy, the number of hungry people in the rest of the world continues to climb.



5 facts about world hunger:

  1. 690 million people (1 in 11) in the world are chronically hungry, while 750 million people (1 in 10) are living in severe food insecurity.
  2. Asia is home to 381 million hungry people, Africa 250 million and Latin America and the Caribbean report 48 million people.
  3. In total, 2 billion people live every day with some form of food insecurity or hunger.
  4. There are nearly 60 million more undernourished people now than in 2014.
  5. If this trend continues, more than half of the hungry people will live in Africa by 2030 — the year by which we’re working to end hunger.

The effect of hunger on children

Hunger is about more than just undereating. Nutritious food is still too expensive and insufficiently available for many families. As many as 3 billion people worldwide do not have access to enough healthy foods such as fruit and vegetables.

47 million children have a permanent growth delay as a result, 144 million children are seriously disadvantaged, and more than 38 million children are overweight due to one-sided, incorrect nutrition.

COVID-19 could result in an additional 132 million people living in hunger.

Because the research took place last year, the impact of COVID-19 has not been included in these figures. The FAO estimates that the pandemic will force an additional 83 to 132 million people to live in hunger every day. The Hunger Project is therefore committed to working with 500,000 trained local volunteers in 13 countries so that as many people as possible can protect themselves and their families against COVID-19 and avoid falling below the poverty line. Read more about our COVID-19 response here.

Together, we can end hunger.

The Hunger Project still believes that we can drastically reverse this upward trend through continuing to run our programs that address hunger holistically and create sustainable change. Investment in the end of hunger is crucial to continue our program work and enable people to lift themselves, their families and communities out of hunger. You can find out more about our work here and invest in ending hunger here.

The  2020 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World  report is a publication of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Food Program ( WFP) and World Health Organisation (WHO).