Chapter 1 Sustainable Development Goal 2.1: Undernourishment and food insecurity
The rise in hunger and food insecurity levels that have been occurring in the region since 2015, were exacerbated by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The region is now even further off track to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 2.1 to end hunger and achieve food security.
In 2020, the prevalence of hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) reached 9.1 percent, the highest it has been in the last 15 years. Between 2019 and 2020, the prevalence of hunger in the region increased by 2 percentage points, which could be explained in part by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that in 2020, 59.7 million people in LAC were undernourished, which is 13.8 million people more than in 2019.
The subregion that experienced the biggest increase in the prevalence of hunger between 2019 and 2020 was Mesoamerica, which increased by 2.5 percentage points, reaching its highest value in the last 20 years. At the subregional level, in 2020 the undernourished population was 16.1 percent in the Caribbean, 10.6 percent in Mesoamerica and 7.8 percent in South America.
In 2020, in Latin America and the Caribbean, the prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity was 41 percent and the prevalence of severe food insecurity, that is people who had run out of food and, at worst, had gone a day or more without eating, was 14 percent. Between 2019 and 2020, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the prevalence of moderate to severe food insecurity grew by 9 percentage points, the most pronounced rise in relation to other world regions.
During 2020, in Latin America and the Caribbean 267 million people experienced moderate or severe food insecurity, which means that 60 million people more than in 2019 did not have physical or economic access to food in the quantity and quality required for their health and development.
In South America between 2014 and 2020, the prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity increased by 20.5 percentage points, while in Mesoamerica there was an increase of 7.3 percentage points during the same period.