The world is more hungry after the pandemic, UN report says

The number of hungry people increased from 613 million in 2019 to 735 million currently, prompting concerns about efforts combat hunger.
People wait for free food outside an eatery in Ahmedabad, India.
Posted at 2:34 PM, Jul 13, 2023

Access to food across the globe has decreased in the last four years, as there are 122 million more people going hungry, according to a new United Nations report.

The report says the number of hungry people increased from 613 million in 2019 to 735 million currently. 

Hunger rates declined in much of Latin America and Asia; but Africa, the Caribbean and western Asia had increased hunger. Nearly 1 in 5 people in Africa are going hungry, the United Nations reported. 

Overall, about 3 out of 10 people across the world did not have consistent and reliable access to food globally in 2022, the report stated. The report also found that about 2 out of 5 people across the world struggled to afford a healthy diet. 

Yolanda Young and Alan Young Sr. stand in their urban garden in Kansas City, Missouri.

Urban farm launches support program to help nourish a food desert

Young Family Farm gives back to their Kansas City community as much as possible because they say many people struggle to get access to fresh produce.


In 2019, the U.N. launched the Sustainable Development Goalwith the goal of eliminating mass hunger by 2030.

The report prompted concern among officials that efforts are not working. 

"There are rays of hope; some regions are on track to achieve some 2030 nutrition targets. But overall, we need an intense and immediate global effort to rescue the Sustainable Development Goals. We must build resilience against the crises and shocks that drive food insecurity — from conflict to climate," said U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres.

There are also concerns about what the future looks like as the U.N. projects that 70% of the world's population will congregate in cities. Currently, hunger is affecting a higher proportion of children in rural areas than in urban areas. But those in urban areas are more likely to consume highly processed foods, which raises different concerns. 

“Malnutrition is a major threat to children’s survival, growth and development," said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell. "The scale of the nutrition crisis demands a stronger response focused on children, including prioritizing access to nutritious and affordable diets and essential nutrition services, protecting children and adolescents from nutrient-poor, ultra-processed foods, and strengthening food and nutrition supply chains including for fortified and therapeutic foods for children.”