36 Dreadful World Hunger Statistics

Almost all of the world’s hungriest people live in the developing world. That doesn’t mean that hunger doesn’t exist in the developed world. 1 in 5 children in the US, in fact, are dealing with food insecurity at least one day per week. More than 795 million people do not have access to enough food to eat, despite the fact that Oxfam reports that the Earth produces 17% more food than is required for the entire global population.

Eradicating hunger is one of the major challenges of our generation. By being aware of these world hunger statistics, we can begin to take the first steps toward meaningful action that can eventually stop hunger for good.

Statistics About World Hunger

1. The sub-Saharan region of Africa sees the greatest challenges with hunger. Globally, there are 1 in 9 people who do not get enough food to eat. In this area of Africa, the number of hungry people are 1 in 4 and could be even higher than that. (WHES)

2. In 2014-2016, there were an estimated 276 million people who were chronically undernourished, which is only marginally lower than the number of people in this category from data collected in 1990-1992. (WHES)

3. 161 million children under the age of 5 are estimated to be stunted because of a lack of food access. (WHES)

4. 51 million children under the age of 5 are wasted because of hunger globally, with 17 million children classified as being “severely wasted” because of a lack of food. (WHES)

5. There are about 805 million people in the world who consume less than 2,100 calories per day. (Do Something)

6. More than 20,000 children die every day and about half of these deaths are directly attributed to hunger. This means 1 in every 15 children in the developing world dies before the age of 5 and it is usually because of hunger. (Do Something)

7. When a mother is undernourished during a pregnancy, the infant will usually be born undernourished as well. This means 17 million children each year are born with a hunger disadvantage that is present immediately. (Do Something)

8. More than 300,000 women die during childbirth because they lack access to basic nutrients, such as iron. (Do Something)

9. Hunger is the worst in Asia in terms of total numbers, with 525.6 million people being counted as having food insecurities. (THP)

10. 60% of those who experience food insecurities in the world today are women. (THP)

11. 1 out of every 6 infants in the developing world are born with a low birth weight. (THP)

12. Every 10 seconds, on average, a child will die because of a hunger-related disease in the world today. (THP)

13. About 900 million people in the developing world are living on $1.90 per day or less. (THP)

14. 70% of the world’s poorest people are living in rural areas and depend on agriculture and related activities for their minimal livelihood. (THP)

15. Half of the hungry people in the world today are farming families who are helping to produce food for others. (THP)

16. 663 million people lack access to clean water on a regular basis. Another 2.4 billion people do not have access to adequate sanitation. (THP)

17. About 1,000 children die, on average, every day because of preventable water or sanitation-related diarrheal diseases.

18. There are 216 million fewer hungry people in the world today than in 1990-1992, despite the fact that there was a 1.9 billion increase in the world’s population at the same time. (World Food Program)

19. In the United States, 1 in 7 people access a local food bank in order to help meet their basic needs. (Global Hunger Relief)

20. 48.1 million people in the United States live in households that are classified as being food insecure. (Global Hunger Relief)

21. 66 million primary-age school children attend classes hungry across the developing world. 23 million of these children live in Africa. (Global Hunger Relief)

22. 1 out of 6 children, or about 100 million, in the developing world are considered to be underweight. (Global Hunger Relief)

23. Every #1 that is spent on malnutrition delivers $16 in economic returns. (Global Nutrition Report)

24. If women farmers had equal access to resources as men who farm do, then the number of hungry could fall by 150 million people. (FAO)

25. Malnutrition in all its forms, from wasting to obesity, direct affects 1 in 3 people in the world today. (Global Nutrition Report)

26. In 2014, 14% of American households were considered to be insecure. The number of people who are living in poverty in the United States, 43.1 million, is virtually the same number of people who live in food insecure households. (Feeding America)

27. About 40% of US households who experience food insecurity are classified as experiencing “very low food security.” (Feeding America)

28. Households with children reported food insecurity in the US at a significantly higher rate than those without children: 17% compared to 11%. (Feeding America)

29. 30% of households that are headed by single women with children experience food insecurity in the United States. This leads the country, including households headed by single men with children (22%), African-American/Black households (22%), and Hispanic households (19%). (Feeding America)

30. In 2014, 5.4 million seniors over the age of 60 were food insecure in the US. (Feeding America)

31. There are 12 states in the US which see statistically higher numbers of food insecurity compared to the national average. Mississippi sees the highest food insecurity rates, with 20.8% of households qualifying. This is followed by Arkansas (19.2%), Louisiana (18.4%), Alabama (17.6%), and Kentucky (17.6%). (Feeding America)

32. Food insecurity exists in every county in the United States. It ranges from a low of 4% of households in Loudoun County, VA to a high of 38% of households in Jefferson County, Mississippi. (Feeding America)

33. In 2015, 59% of households that experience food insecurities participated in at least one of the three major US Government food assistance programs, including SNAP, the National School Lunch Program, and WIC. (Feeding America)

34. In developing countries, every second pregnant woman and about 40% of preschool children are estimated to be anemic. (WHES)

35. An estimated 250 million preschool children are believed to be Vitamin A deficient in the world today. Up to 500,000 of these children become blind ever year because of this nutritional deficiency. (WHES)

36. Iodine deficiency is one of the primary causes of impaired cognitive development in children. Serious deficiencies can result in spontaneous abortions, stillbirth, and congenital abnormalities. Iodine deficiency can be solved with iodized salt, but 54 countries have a serious iodine deficiency problem despite this easy solution. (WHES)

World hunger doesn’t need to exist. We have the resources to stop it for good. Progress has been made, but 1 in 9 people will go to bed tonight hungry. With a little help and armed with these world hunger statistics, we can be the generation that solves this problem once and for all.

Blog Post Author Credentials
Louise Gaille is the author of this post. She received her B.A. in Economics from the University of Washington. In addition to being a seasoned writer, Louise has almost a decade of experience in Banking and Finance. If you have any suggestions on how to make this post better, then go here to contact our team.