Global Hunger Statistics

Close to four billion people live in hunger.

Of that, some 821 million people in the world will go to sleep on an empty stomach.

That represents 1 in 9 people, a number that is still far too high.

Over the past three years, the number of people globally who are not getting enough to eat has been on the rise. According to the World Food Program, one in three people will also suffer from some form of malnutrition.


Hunger is a feeling of weakness or discomfort that is caused by not getting enough food, combined with a desire to eat.

It is also referred to as a type of distress that is connected to a lack of food.

The undernourishment/food deprivation threshold is less than 1800 calories. But in reality, particularly where undernutrition is concerned, there are more than calories to consider.

Without an adequate intake of protein and other essential minerals or vitamins, malnutrition can develop, impact many other areas of a person’s well-being.


In the US and many other high-income countries, the main cause of hunger is poverty.

In some cases, this happens because jobs aren’t paying enough, or there is a lack of jobs.

Typically, the rates of hunger will rise when there is a downturn in the economy, but these aren’t the only causes.

In a report issued by the World Health Organization, they identify with three key factors behind the increasing numbers of hunger.

These are climate, conflict, and economic slowdowns.

Here is a summary of the main causes of hunger globally:

  • Poor Infrastructure
  • Instability in the Employment Market
  • Food Shortages
  • Poverty
  • Conflict or War
  • Climate Change
  • Natural Disasters
  • Discrimination
  • Economy
  • Market Instability
  • Nutritional Quality

As you can appreciate from the list, the causes of hunger are complex, and many of these reasons are easily interconnected.


Some of the effects of hunger extend far beyond what many people expect.

Whether it’s not getting enough of the right type of food or not getting enough food in general, it can impact a person’s health and well-being.

Aside from this, other aspects of life, including education or work, will also start to suffer.


There are more than 11 million kids in America that live in a home that is known as ‘food insecure.’

This is an umbrella term that means there is not enough food for each family member to consume enough for members to be considered as having ‘a healthy life.’

This means that 1 in every 7 children will have to live with hunger.

According to the ASPE, the new HHS Poverty Guidelines for 2020 state that for a household of one, the federal poverty level is $12,760, and for a family of four is $26,200.


Undernutrition in children is reported to cause of just over 3 million annual child deaths.

This accounts for 45% of child deaths. Children are, in some respects, the most visible and apparent victims of being undernourished.

Children in developing countries can be heavily impacted as undernutrition can magnify the impact of many diseases, such as malaria, pneumonia, and measles.

1 in 6 children (approx. 100 million) in developing countries are underweight.

Additionally, across the developing world, there are approximately 66 million children of primary school age who will go to classes hungry; and Africa accounts for around 23 million of these.

Q. Does the World Produce Enough Food to Feed Everyone?
A. Yes, there is enough food being produced to feed everybody.

In fact, there has been a growth in food availability, as well as many improvements to food accessibility.

Q. So why, at a time when we see these improvements, is hunger still on the rise?

A. Some of the main challenges are that there are many people across the world who do not have adequate income to enough food, they don’t have the money to buy land to grow any produce, or they cannot get access to food.

Q. What is food security?
A. Food security is when there is enough food, and all people have economic and physical access to nutritious and safe food at all times.


In certain situations, hunger is a cycle that can be passed down from one generation to the next.

Here is a chart that demonstrates the domino effect it can have on a person’s life and how the cycle of hunger can develop in families.

cycle of hunger and how it affects families

Source:,, 2018.

When a person lives in poverty, they can struggle to afford nutritious and safe food to eat.

As they endure the hunger, they become more prone to getting ill, they get weaker, they’re less productive, and all of this can impact their ability to focus at work or school.

With a limited family income, there are instances where parents do not have enough money to send their children to school.

And if they are in school, in many cases, their malnutrition can limit their abilities as their levels of focus are impacted by hunger as well.

If education or work is impacted, this can further exacerbate the issue of hunger, and it is these circumstances that often compound the effects it can have on children over the course of their lifetime.

With 20% of children globally classified as being undernourished, this global issue is one that needs us to unite, and to help end this crisis.


Against Global Hunger is a non-profit organization, based in Tulsa, OK, with around 80 food packaging satellite locations across the U.S.

We work in partnership with numerous humanitarian groups across the globe, help families in America and other developing countries, to get access to highly nutritious food.

Our food is packaged by volunteer youth and community groups from a range of locations.

Our approach isn’t about simply feeding an empty stomach.

Instead, we use the highest possible nutrition, so that our foods help to feed the brain as well as the body.

We believe this approach can help children across the globe reach their truest potential.

Our Mission is to significantly reduce the number of hungry children in the U.S. and to feed starving children around the globe.

Through our projects, we have already distributed more than 100 million of our specially formulated food to children who hungry across the U.S. and in more than 80 countries.

In the event of a natural disaster, areas of conflict, and developing countries, we are quick to respond and reach out.

If you would like to ask a question, volunteer, or donate, please get in touch with us today.

Since its inception, Against Global Hunger of Tulsa has distributed more than 10 million meals. Approximately half is shipped overseas to developing countries, areas suffering natural disasters or countries affected by war.