Five Facts on Global Food Insecurity

Thanks to Learning Life volunteers, Derrick Costa and Erin Birmingham, for assisting with the research and writing of the following five facts.

1) 795 million hungry worldwide

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that 795 million people worldwide suffered from hunger and malnutrition in 2015.  That’s a reduction of more than 167 million over the last decade, and more than 216 million since 1990-1992, but still means about 11% of the world’s population goes hungry.

2) Most in Asia and Africa

Most of the world’s undernourished are concentrated in Africa and Asia, which together also contain the majority of the world’s population.  But the percentage of people undernourished varies substantially by region within these two continents, from 41% in Middle Africa to 7% in Central Asia.

Spring basket operation3) Causes

Food insecurity can be caused by various factors, and the causes vary to some extent by nation and region.  Major causes worldwide currently include economic downturns, war and civil war, agricultural mismanagement and lack of investment, and natural disasters due to climate change and other weather patterns.

4) Consequences

Lack of nutritious food leads families to pull their children out of school to work, thus lowering educational levels and undermining economic productivity (education is a key driver of economic productivity).  Malnutrition also contributes to illness among women and children especially, stunts physical and intellectual development, and increases death rates.  Malnutrition causes 45% of all child deaths worldwide.

5) 50% more food by 2050

According to the World Bank, the world needs to produce 50% more food to feed the 9 billion people expected to inhabit the Earth in 2050.  To increase the amount of food available, the World Bank recommends smarter farming methods that take climate change into account, restoring degraded agricultural land, developing more resilient and nutritious crops, and improving transport and storage to reduce food waste.



United Nations.  “Global Food Crisis: More Go Hungry Amid Economic Turmoil.”

UN Food & Agriculture Organization.  “The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015.

World Bank.  “Food Security Overview.”