Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger

Hunger and Poverty Facts

Worldwide, the number of hungry people has dropped significantly over the past two decades, but 842 million people continue to struggle with hunger every day.

Hunger and Poverty

  • Worldwide, 1.2 billion people still live in extreme poverty — on less than $1.25 per day.1
  • There has been a reduction of more than 34 percent in global hunger since 1990.2
  • Roughly 1 billion men, women, and children are food-insecure.3
  • Analysts forecast a period of volatile food prices over the next decade, which could lead to instability in poor countries.
  • An increase in the global population to 9 billion people by 2050 will require a 70 percent increase in agricultural production.4
  • About 75% of the world’s poor people live in rural areas and depend on agriculture for their livelihood.
    Infographic: hunger by the numbers »


  • Between 2010 and 2012 an estimated 868 million people were undernourished and more than 100 million children under age five were undernourished and underweight.5
  • Around the world, 178 million children under 5 are stunted, low height for age. Of all stunted children, 90 percent live in just 36 countries, most of them in sub-Saharan Africa and South and Central Asia.
  • In countries with high levels of childhood malnutrition, the economic loss can be as high as 2-3 percent of GDP.
  • A population too malnourished to work suffers long-term economic consequences. A malnourished person can suffer a 10 percent reduction in his/her lifetime earnings, while countries can see 2 to 3 percent annual reductions.6
    Infographic: funding levels affect nutrition »

U.S. Development Assistance

  • U.S. development assistance accounts for about 0.2% of gross national income.
  • Since the federal government’s largest food-aid program, Food for Peace, began in 1954, more than 3 billion people in 150 countries have benefited directly from U.S. food aid.7
  • The lives of more than 2 million children are saved every year through global immunization programs supported by the United States.8
  • Forty-three of the top 50 consumer nations of U.S. agricultural products were once U.S. foreign aid recipients.9
    Infographic: U.S. funding levels for food aid programs »



1. United Nations, Millennium Development Goals and Beyond 2015 Fact Sheet, 2013.

2. International Food Policy Research Institute, 2013 Global Hunger Index, 2013

3. United Nations, Millennium Development Goals and Beyond 2015 Fact Sheet, 2013.

4. FAO, The State of Food Insecurity in the World, 2012.

View additional sources »

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Global Hunger / Photo by Kibae Park for the United Nations

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