Hunger Statistics

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Facts About Hunger

(Updated in July 2016 by LeAnne Kerr)

Hunger Around the World
  • (2015) The vast majority of hungry people (98 percent) live in developing countries, where almost 15 percent of the population is undernourished. Around three-quarters of these undernourished people live in low-income rural areas, principally in higher-risk farming areas. —World Food Programme (WFP)
  • 795 million out of the 7.3 billion people in the world suffer from chronic undernourishment. 780 million of the undernourished population lives in developing countries, which is about one in eight. —United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)
  • Hunger kills more people each year than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined – FAO
  • Malnutrition involved with fetal growth restriction, stunting, wasting, and suboptimum breastfeeding cases 3.1 million child deaths each year. This was about 45% of all child deaths in 2011. –
  • About half of all stunted children from 2013 lived in Asia and over a third of Africa – United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF)
  • The 1996 World Food Summit targeted to halve the number of undernourished people (991 million) by 2015, and that number has decreased by 200 million. Although this goal was not met in 2015, incredible strides have been made in countries such as East Asia, South East Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean regions. – FAO
  • (2011) It costs just US$0.25 per day to provide a child with all of the vitamins and nutrients he or she needs to grow up healthy. —WFP
  • If women in rural areas had the same access to land, technology, financial services, education and markets as men, the number of hungry people could be reduced by up to 150 million. —FAO
  • (2012) It would cost US$3.5 billion to feed every hungry schoolchild in the world. That’s around two times the takings from the movie Titanic, which grossed US$1.8 billion worldwide. —WFP
  • India has the highest number of hungry people in the world, as 194 million, surpassing China – United Nations annual hunger report
  • One out of six children in developing countries is underweight.— WFP
  • One in four of the world’s children are stunted, though this number rises to one in three in developing countries. – WFP
  • 66 million primary school-age children across the developing world are hungry when they attend classes, with 23 million in Africa alone. US$3.2 billion would feed all of the hungry school-age children in the world for one year. —WFP
  • Undernutrition among pregnant women in developing countries leads to one in six infants born with low birth weight. This is a risk factor for neonatal deaths, learning disabilities, mental retardation, poor health, blindness, and premature death. – Stalker, H. T., and Richard F. Wilson. Peanuts: Genetics, Processing, and Utilization. Print./World Hunger Education Service (WHES)
  • Around half of the world’s hungry people are from smallholder farming communities, surviving off marginal lands prone to natural disasters like drought and flood. Another 20% are landless families and another 10% live in communities that depend on herding, fishing or foresting. —FAO
  • As of 2008, the World Bank has estimated that there were an estimated 1,345 million poor people in developing countries who live on $1.25 a day or less. —WHES
  • By causing poor health, low levels of energy, and even mental impairment, hunger can lead to even greater poverty by reducing people’s ability to work and learn, thus leading to even greater hunger. —WHES
  • One out of three people in developing countries are affected by vitamin and mineral deficiencies. —World Health Organization (WHO)
  • In 2014, 16,000 children under the age of 5 died every day, and nearly half of those deaths were tied to hunger. That’s about one child every 10 seconds. —30 Hour Famine
Hunger in the US
  • As of 2015, about 14% of American households were food insecure during the year. Food insecurity means these families lacked access to enough food for an active, healthy life. – United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • 48 million Americans are at risk of hunger – Feeding America
  • The average cost of a meal in the US is $2.89 – Feeding America
  • Ninety percent of all counties in the US have a majority of food-insecure children living in households with incomes at or below the federal poverty line. —Feeding America
  • One in six people in America face hunger.
Do Something
  • 3% of the world’s population is hungry. That’s roughly 805 million people who go undernourished on a daily basis, consuming less than the recommended 2,100 calories a day.
  • The world produces enough food to feed all 7 billion people, but those who go hungry either do not have land to grow food or money to purchase it.
  • 10 countries that have achieved greatest success in reducing the total number of hungry people in proportion to their national population are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Cuba, Georgia, Ghana, Kuwait, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Thailand and Venezuela.
  • Poverty is the principal cause of hunger. Poverty is cause by a lack of resources, an extremely unequal income distribution in the world and within specific countries, conflict, and hunger itself.
  • In 2010, an estimated 7.6 million children — more than 20,000 a day — died. Poor nutrition plays a role in at least half of these deaths.
  • While hunger exists worldwide, 526 million hungry people live in Asia.
  • Over a quarter of the world’s undernourished people live in Sub-Saharan Africa. That’s about one in four people in this region that is chronically hungry.
  • When a mother is undernourished during pregnancy, the baby is often born undernourished, too. Every year, 17 million children are born this way due to a mother’s lack of nutrition before and during pregnancy.
  • Similarly, women in hunger are so deficient of basic nutrients (like iron) that 315,000 die during childbirth from hemorrhaging every year.

Hunger IQ: Test your hunger knowledge by taking the following quiz.

1. One in ___ Americans do not have access to enough food.
A. 5 B. 2 C. 6 D. 8

2. True or False: The lack of adequate nutrition affects a child’s cognitive, physical and behavioral development.
A. True B. False

3. Approximately how much of the population in developing countries is undernourished?
A. 15 percent B. 20 percent C. 10 percent D. 5 percent

4. How many US dollars does it cost per day to provide a child with all of the vitamins and nutrients he or she needs to grow up healthy?
A. $1.00 B. $5.00 C. $0.25 D. $10.00

5. How many people in the world do not have enough to eat?
A. 50 million B. 100 million C. 500 million D. 870 million

6. What percentage of deaths in children under the age of 5 in developing countries is linked to undernutrition?
A. one-third B. one-half C. one-fourth D. one-eighth

7. 1,345 million people in developing countries live on $____ per day or less.
A. $0.40 B. $1.25 C. $1.00 D. $0.75

8. True or False: A key cause of food insecurity in the United States is the lack of sufficient resources to cover the cost of food in addition to meeting other basic needs.
A. True B. False

9. How much do low-income households spend on food?
A. 18.5 percent B. 20 percent C. 16.4 percent D. 10 percent

10. One in _____ people will go to bed hungry tonight.
A. eight B. six C. ten D. five

Note: We don’t want you cheating, so email us at for the answer key!