Sustainable Development Goals

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.

Target 2.1

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.







Percentage of undernourished people by region in 2000 and 2021


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 number of undernourished persons has risen sharply over the past two years, with up to 828 million people in the world facing hunger in 2021. 

After remaining virtually unchanged for five years, FAO estimates of the prevalence of undernourishment in the world increased from 8 percent in 2019 to around 9.3 percent in 2020, and then further to 9.8 percent in 2021. Given current estimates of the world population, this implies that up to 828 million people may have faced hunger in 2021 globally. 

Across world regions, hunger numbers continue to depict significant disparities. Compared to 2015, the situation has worsened significantly everywhere; in addition to Africa, increases were also seen in Asia (+ 1.1 percentage points) and, of particular concern, in Latin America and the Caribbean (+ 2.8 percentage points). 



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