Prevalence of food insecurity in the Arab States by subregion
The Food Insecurity Experience Scale- (FIES) based prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity is an estimate of the proportion of the population facing moderate or severe constraints on their ability to obtain sufficient food over the course of a year. People face moderate food insecurity when they are uncertain of their ability to obtain food and have been forced to reduce, at times over the year, the quality and/or quantity of food they consume due to lack of money or other resources. Severe food insecurity means that individuals have likely run out of food, experienced hunger and, at the most extreme, have gone for days without eating, putting their health and well-being at serious risk.
The prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity in the Arab region was 32.3 percent in 2020, up from 30.8 percent in 2014. It is higher than the global average of 30.4 percent. The levels of moderate or severe food insecurity in the region were also higher compared to 2019. In 2020, 45 percent of the people in low-income economies were severely or moderately food insecure, compared to 43.1 percent in upper-middle-income economies, 26.1 percent in lower-middle-income economies and 19.3 percent in high-income economies. The prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity increased in conflict-affected countries up to 45 percent but has declined slightly in non-conflict countries (down to 25.4 percent) between 2014 and 2020. However, the prevalence is higher in both country groups compared to 2019, largely due to increases in moderate food insecurity.
In contrast, severe food insecurity affected 11.3 percent of the people in the Arab region in 2020, down from 11.5 percent in 2014: 17.5 percent in low-income economies, 16.8 percent in upper-middle-income economies, 8 percent in high-income economies and 7.4 percent in lower-middle-income economies. However, the levels of severe food insecurity in the region are higher compared to the previous year (10.9 percent).
|Moderate food insecurity||Severe food insecurity||Moderate or severe food insecurity|
|Arab States LDCs||26.1||28.9||29.5||15.6||17.3||18.8||41.7||46.2||48.3|
The prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity is available only for ten Arab countries. The rates of moderate or severe food insecurity have risen in 2018–2020 from 2014–2016 in most countries with available data. The highest prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity in 2018–2020 was recorded in two of the least developed, conflict-affected countries of the region: Somalia, 79.1 percent, and the Sudan, 49.4 percent. In contrast, the lowest levels of moderate or severe food insecurity, 12.2 percent, were recorded in Kuwait representing a high-income country in the region.
An estimated 141 million people in the Arab Region experienced moderate or severe food insecurity in 2020, an increase of 21.3 million, or 17.8 percent compared with 2014. The region accounted for 6 percent of the global total of 2.4 billion in 2020. Lower-middle-income economies had 53.8 million moderately or severely food insecure people, compared with 48.1 million in low-income economies, 27.6 million in upper-middle-income economies and 11.3 million in high-income economies. The number of moderately or severely food insecure people rose both in conflict-affected (14.9 million) as well as non-conflict countries (6.4 million) in 2020 compared to 2014. From 2019, the number of people affected by moderate or severe food insecurity in the region increased by more than 10 million, likely due in large part to the economic and social disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic that has exacerbated pre-existing vulnerabilities and negatively impacted peoples’ lives and livelihoods. High-income countries showed the least increase compared to the other country income groups. The number of moderately or severely food insecure people has increased from 2019 in both conflict-affected as well as non-conflict countries of the region.
|World||1 645.5||1 762.9||1 978.7||2 049.9||2 368.2|
|Arab States LDCs||34.5||36.3||41.9||43.3||46.4|
An estimated 49.4 million people in the region experienced severe food insecurity in 2020, an increase of 4.9 million, or 11 percent compared with 2014. The region accounted for 5.3 percent of the global total of 0.9 billion in 2020. Low-income economies had 18.7 million severely food insecure people, compared with 15.3 million in lower-middle-income economies, 10.8 million in upper-middle-income economies and 4.7 million in high-income economies. Severe food insecurity also showed an upward trend from 2019, with 2.9 million more people not having regular access to sufficient and nutritious food. Both conflict-affected as well as non-conflict countries in the region showed increased levels of severe food insecurity in 2020 compared to 2019.
|Arab States LDCs||12.9||13.8||15.9||16.2||18.0|