This report provides an update on global progress towards the targets of ending hunger (SDG Target 2.1) and all forms of malnutrition (SDG Target 2.2) and estimates on the number of people who are unable to afford a healthy diet.
Here are the key messages:
- Global hunger, measured by the prevalence of undernourishment (PoU) (SDG Indicator 2.1.1), remained relatively unchanged from 2021 to 2022 but is still far above pre-COVID-19-pandemic levels, affecting around 9.2 percent of the world population in 2022 compared with 7.9 percent in 2019.
- It is estimated that between 691 and 783 million people in the world faced hunger in 2022. Considering the midrange (about 735 million), 122 million more people faced hunger in 2022 than in 2019, before the pandemic.
- The economic recovery from the pandemic observed in 2021 slowed in 2022. Rising prices of food, agricultural inputs and energy, magnified by the impact of the war in Ukraine, undermined the recovery of employment and incomes of the most vulnerable people, hindering a decline in hunger.
- The relative lack of change in hunger between 2021 and 2022 at the global level hides substantial differences at the regional and subregional levels. While progress was made towards reducing hunger in Asia and in Latin America, hunger was still on the rise in Western Asia, the Caribbean and all subregions of Africa.
- The PoU in Africa rose from 19.4 percent in 2021 to 19.7 percent in 2022, driven mostly by increases in Northern and Southern Africa. The number of people facing hunger in Africa has increased by 11 million people since 2021 and by more than 57 million people since the outbreak of the pandemic.
- The PoU in Asia fell from 8.8 percent in 2021 to 8.5 percent in 2022 – a decrease of more than 12 million people, mostly in Southern Asia. However, this is still 58 million above pre-pandemic levels. There were improvements in every subregion except Western Asia, where the PoU increased from 10.2 percent in 2021 to 10.8 percent in 2022.
- A turnaround also occurred in Latin America and the Caribbean, where the PoU fell from 7.0 percent in 2021 to 6.5 percent in 2022 – a decrease of 2.4 million in the number of people facing hunger, but still 7.2 million more than in 2019. The decrease was driven by South America and masks a notable increase in the Caribbean, from 14.7 percent in 2021 to 16.3 percent in 2022.
- A much larger proportion of the population in Africa faces hunger compared to the other regions of the world – nearly 20 percent compared with 8.5 percent in Asia, 6.5 percent in Latin America and the Caribbean, and 7.0 percent in Oceania.
- It is projected that almost 600 million people will be chronically undernourished in 2030, pointing to the immense challenge of achieving the SDG target to eradicate hunger. This is about 119 million more than in a scenario in which neither the pandemic nor the war in Ukraine had occurred, and around 23 million more than if the war in Ukraine had not happened. Most progress is expected to occur in Asia, whereas no progress is foreseen in Latin America and the Caribbean, and hunger is projected to increase significantly in Africa by 2030.
- Following a sharp increase from 2019 to 2020, the prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity at the global level (SDG Indicator 2.1.2) remained unchanged for the second year in a row but was still far above the pre-pandemic level of 25.3 percent. About 29.6 percent of the global population – 2.4 billion people – were moderately or severely food insecure in 2022, 391 million more than in 2019.
- The prevalence of severe food insecurity at the global level declined slightly from 11.7 percent in 2021 to 11.3 percent in 2022, the equivalent of 27 million fewer people. However, the number of severely food-insecure people was still about 900 million in 2022, which is 180 million more than in 2019.
- The prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity rose slightly in Africa and in Northern America and Europe, and decreased non-significantly in Asia from 2021 to 2022. The only region showing encouraging progress is Latin America and the Caribbean, where moderate or severe food insecurity decreased from 40.3 percent in 2021 to 37.5 percent in 2022, the equivalent of 16.5 million fewer people in one year, mainly in South America.
- A comparison of food insecurity among rural, peri-urban and urban populations reveals that global food insecurity, at both levels of severity, is lower in urban areas. Moderate or severe food insecurity affected 33.3 percent of adults living in rural areas in 2022 compared with 28.8 percent in peri-urban areas and 26.0 percent in urban areas.
- Food insecurity affects women more than men in every region of the world. However, the gender gap in food insecurity at the global level, which had widened in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, narrowed from 3.8 percentage points in 2021 to 2.4 percentage points in 2022, suggesting that the disproportionate impacts of the pandemic on women’s food insecurity have eased globally and in some regions. The gender gap diminished notably in Asia and in Latin America and the Caribbean, but widened in Africa and in Northern America and Europe.