The Latest World Hunger Stats Are Grim

Number of people going hungry jumped by 122M between 2019 and 2022
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 12, 2023 4:30 PM CDT
The Latest World Hunger Stats Are Grim
Malnourished children wait for treatment in the pediatrics department of Boulmiougou hospital in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, on April 15, 2022.   (AP Photo/Sophie Garcia, File)

The number of humans going hungry stood at an estimated 735 million in 2022, an increase of 122 million people since 2019. That roughly 20% jump is being attributed to the COVID pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, per a new report issued by the Food and Agriculture Organization and four additional UN bodies on Wednesday, reports the Guardian. The 2023 edition of the annual State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report tracks the fluctuations over that three-year period, reporting 7.9% of the world's population faced chronic hunger in 2019. That figure hit 9.3% in 2021 and stood at 9.2% in 2022. "No progress was made on food insecurity at the global level" in 2022, the report points out.

A standout paragraph from the report's executive summary: "The economic recovery from the pandemic helped to stem the rising tide of hunger at least at the global level. However, the positive effect could have been even larger without the countervailing winds caused by the global repercussions of the war in Ukraine and rising prices of food, agricultural inputs and energy, together with other drivers of food insecurity such as conflicts and weather-related events."

The report notes that hunger is not spread across the world equally: The portion of the population facing hunger stands at almost 20% in Africa, compared to 8.5% in Asia, 6.5% in Latin America and the Caribbean, and 7% in Oceania. Current projections put the number of chronically undernourished people at nearly 600 million in 2030. That figure is about 119 million people higher than it would have been had neither the pandemic nor the war in Ukraine happened, and makes clear "the immense challenge of achieving the [Sustainable Development Goal] target to eradicate hunger."

story continues below

"There are rays of hope," UN Secretary-General António Guterres said upon the release of the report. "Some regions are on track to achieve some 2030 nutrition targets. But overall, we need an intense and immediate global effort ... we must build resilience against the crises and shocks that drive food insecurity-from conflict to climate." Meanwhile, the AP reports on mounting concerns that Russia will not extend the UN-brokered deal that has been in place since last summer and has allowed grain to be exported from Ukraine to developing nations that rely on it. The Black Sea Grain Initiative is up for its fourth renewal Monday; in the case of the last two renewals, Russia made similar threats before permitting two-month extensions. (More hunger stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.