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World Hunger and Poverty Facts

Poverty

  • Since 1990, the world has reduced the number of people who live in extreme poverty by over half. But that still leaves 767 million people living on the edge of survival with less than $1.90 a day. (4) 

  • Most of the extreme poor live in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Most live in rural areas, are poorly educated, and are employed in the agricultural sector. Over half are under 18 years old. (4) 

  • To reduce hunger and poverty  in the world, we have to improve the livelihoods of the poor. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to help smallholder family farmers improve their productivity and incomes. (6) 


Hunger

  • 66 million primary school-age children attend classes hungry across the developing world, with 23 million in Africa alone. (3)  

  • Asia is the continent with the most hungry people -- two thirds of the world’s total. Southern Asia faces the greatest hunger burden, with about 281 million undernourished people.

  • In sub-Saharan Africa the rate of undernourishment from 2014-2016 was almost 23 percent.


Nutrition

  • Poor nutrition causes nearly half the deaths in children under five -- 3.1 million children each year. When a child is undernourished her immune system is weakened and she can’t fight off common, preventable illnesses like diarrhea or pneumonia. (1) 

  • Since 1990, the world has reduced child mortality by more than half. That’s great progress, but it still leaves 5.9 million children a year dying before they reach their 5th birthday. That’s 11 children every minute! (2)

  • Globally, one in nine people in the world today (795 million) are undernourished. They get fewer than the minimum amount of calories needed for good health and growth. (5) 


Not Just Food - Food Security (3)

  • Agriculture is the single largest employer in the world, providing livelihoods for 40 per cent of today’s global population. It is the largest source of income and jobs for poor rural households.

  • 500 million small farms worldwide provide up to 80 per cent of food consumed in many developing countries. Investing in smallholder women and men is an important way to increase food security and nutrition for the poorest, and food production for local and global markets.

  • If women farmers had the same access to resources as men farmers, the number of hungry in the world could be reduced by up to 150 million.

  • Water scarcity and poor water quality contribute to food insecurity for poor families across the world. Since 1990, 2.6 billion people have gained access to improved drinking water, but still, 1.8 billion people get their drinking water from a contaminated source.


Breaking the Cycle of Poverty, Hunger, Poor Health

Real examples of solutions at work

Measuring Hunger

  • The Global Hunger Index measures hunger using four factors: (8 & 9)

  1. Undernourishment: The number of people who don’t have enough food to meet their minimum dietary energy requirements. 

  2. Child stunting:  The number of children whose height is significantly low for their age (below the fifth percentile). It is caused by long-term undernutrition and frequent infections and causes damage to the child’s body and brain. Stunting impacts children’s ability to learn and to work in the future.

  3. Child wasting: The number of children whose weight is significantly low for their height. This is a strong predictor of mortality for children under five. It is caused by acute undernutrition and/or disease.   

  4. Child mortality: The number of children who die before the age of 5


Sources

  1. UNICEF, Malnutrition, Feb 2017

  2. UNICEF, Child Survival: Under-Five Mortality, Oct 2016
  3. Sustainable Development Goal 2: Hunger and Goal 6: Water
  4. World Bank Poverty Overview, Oct 2016

  5. FAO, The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015

  6. FAO, The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015, Key Messages
  7. The World Bank Poverty and Health Brief, Aug 2014
  8. Key Findings from the 2015 Global Hunger Index, IFPRI Blog
  9. Stunting and wasting descriptions from UNICEF MDG1 Review