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SDG Indicator 2.1.1 - Prevalence of undernourishment

Indicator 2.1.1 - Prevalence of undernourishment

The prevalence of undernourishment (PoU) is an estimate of the proportion of the population whose habitual food consumption is insufficient to provide the dietary energy levels that are required to maintain a normal active and healthy life. It is expressed as a percentage. This indicator will measure progress towards SDG Target 2.1.

  • Prevalence of undernourishment (left axis)
  • Number of people undernourished (right axis)

NOTES: * Values for 2018 are projections as illustrated by dotted lines and empty circles.
Source: FAO.

By 2030, end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round.


The PoU offers countries a measure to track progress made in stamping out hunger in a way consistent with the past. Together with indicator 2.1.2, this is ideal for evidence-based policymaking to ensure no one and no area is left behind and to bring the global hunger figure down to zero. 

Undernourishment means that a person is not able to acquire enough food to meet the daily minimum dietary energy requirements, over a period of one year. FAO defines hunger as being synonymous with chronic undernourishment.

Key results

The 2030 zero hunger target will not be achieved unless the recent trend is reversed

After decades of steady decline, the trend in world hunger – as measured by the prevalence of undernourishment – reverted in 2015, remaining virtually unchanged in the past three years at a level slightly below 11 percent. Meanwhile, the number of people who suffer from hunger has slowly increased. As a result, more than 820 million people in the world were still hungry in 2018, underscoring the immense challenge of achieving the Zero Hunger target by 2030. For more detailed discussion, see the State of Food and Agriculture (SOFI) 2019 report.


SDG 2 – Indicators of hunger and severity of food insecurity

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