Hunger in a pandemic: all world regions affected, some more than others


COVID-19 has exacerbated what was already a worsening situation. The most recent data − collected in 2020 and published in mid-2021 − shows up to 811 million people chronically undernourished as the pandemic swept the world, halting economic activity, disrupting supply chains and deepening poverty. At this rate, chances of reaching Zero Hunger by 2030, as envisioned under Goal 2 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), appear to be receding further – although a UN Food Systems Summit in 2021 did generate new political momentum.

While the whole world was affected, not all regions suffered equally. In 2020, more than half of all undernourished people (418 million) lived in Asia; more than a third (282 million) in Africa; and a smaller proportion (60 million) in Latin America and the Caribbean. But the sharpest rise in hunger was in Africa, where the estimated prevalence of undernourishment – at 21 percent of the population – was more than double that of any other region.

The five regional State of Food Security and Nutrition – Statistics and Trends reports are now out in pdf and fully responsive web version, with – for the first time – a wealth of data fully available to download. The reports offer unprecedented access to disaggregated statistics for anyone interested in understanding – and ending – hunger and malnutrition in all their forms. Check out the available languages here.