Know Your World: Facts About Hunger and Poverty

World Population

  • 7.7 billion

World Hunger Facts

Today there are 821.6 million people who are chronically undernourished. This is more than the 785 million in 2015, although still down from about 950 million in 2005. For more information on the rising rate of global undernutrition, see our response to the 2019 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report.

99% of the world’s undernourished people live in developing countries.

– Where is hunger the worst?

Asia: 513.9 million*

Sub-Saharan Africa: 239.1 million*

Latin America: 34.7 million*

Aiming at the very heart of hunger, The Hunger Project is currently committed to work in Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, India, Ghana, Malawi, Mexico, Mozambique, Peru, Senegal andUganda.

*Indicates an increase from 2017 to 2018.

Women and Children

– Women and girls make up 60 percent of the world’s hungry.

– Globally, about one in five births (19%) take place without the assistance of a skilled birth attendant. Inadequate care during pregnancy and delivery was largely responsible for the annual deaths of an estimated 303,000 mothers and 2.5 million newborns in 2017.

– There are about 20 million low birthweight infants born each year, 96.5% of them in developing countries.

– Nearly half of all deaths in children under 5 are attributable to under-nutrition. This translates into the unnecessary loss of about 3 million young lives a year.  

– Globally, the number of children under 5 who suffer from stunting is down to 149 million. In 2018, Africa and Asia accounted for more than nine out of ten of all stunted children in the world.

The Hunger Project firmly believes that empowering women to be key change agents is an essential element to achieving the end of hunger and poverty. Wherever we work, our programs aim to support women and build their capacity.

HIV/AIDS and other Diseases

37.9 million people are living with HIV/AIDS.

74.9 million [58.3 million–98.1 million] people have become infected with HIV since the start of the epidemic.

– The vast majority of people living with HIV are located in low- and middle- income countries, with an estimated 25.6 million [23.2 million-28.2 million] living in Sub-Saharan Africa.

– Since 2010, new HIV infections among children have declined by 41%, from 280,000 [190,000-430,000] in 2010 to 160,000 [110,000-260,000] in 2018.

Launched in 2003, The Hunger Project’s HIV/AIDS and Gender Inequality Campaign works at the grassroots level to provide education about preventative and treatment measures. Read more about our work here.


736 million people, almost 1 in 10 people in the world, live under $1.90 a day, and over half of the extreme poor (413 million) live in Sub-Saharan Africa.

– Nearly 328 million children are living in extreme poverty.

Rural Hunger Project partners have access to income-generating workshops, empowering their self-reliance. Our Microfinance Program in Africa provides access to credit, adequate training and instilling in our partners the importance of saving.


– 75 percent of the world’s poorest people live in rural areas and depend on agriculture and related activities for their livelihood.

– 50 percent of hungry people are farming families.

In each region in which we work, The Hunger Project provides tools and training to increase farming production at the local level. In Africa, our epicenter partners run community farms where they implement new techniques while producing food for the epicenter food bank.

Water and sanitation

– Globally, at least 2 billion people use a drinking water source contaminated with feces, and 785 million people lack even a basic drinking-water service.

– By 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas.

– As of 2017, 55% of the global population lacked safely managed sanitation services.

– Each year, some 297,000 children under 5 die due to diarrhea. Poor sanitation and contaminated water are also linked to transmission of diseases such as cholera, dysentery, hepatitis A, and typhoid.

– In countries experiencing conflict or unrest, children are 4 times less likely to use basic water services, and 2 times less likely to use basic sanitation services than children in other countries.

– There are big gaps in service between urban and rural areas. Two out of three people with safely managed drinking water and three out of five people with safely managed sanitation services live in urban areas. Of the 161 million people using untreated surface water (from lakes, rivers or irrigation channels), 150 million live in rural areas.

The Hunger Project works with communities to develop new water resources, ensure clean water and improved sanitation, and implement water conservation techniques.