Global Hunger Index

Measuring hunger is complicated. But if we are going to get to Zero Hunger, then we need to have some way of measuring progress. Since 2006, Concern has partnered with the  International Food and Policy Research Institute and Welthungerhilfe to assess the progress and setbacks in ending hunger. The Global Hunger Index, a peer-reviewed report, offers a way to compare levels of hunger between countries and regions, allowing us — and other organizations and policy-makers around the world — to focus on areas where the need is greatest. 

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The 2021 GHI: Highlights

  • The 2021 Global Hunger Index (GHI) points to a dire hunger situation in a world coping with multiple crises.
  • 47 countries will fail even to reach Low hunger status by 2030 — an increase of 10 countries compared to 2020’s report. 
  • Since 2012, hunger has increased in 10 countries with Moderate, Serious, or Alarming hunger levels.
  • After decades of decline, the global prevalence of undernourishment — a component of the Global Hunger Index — is increasing.
  • Fourteen countries have achieved significant improvements in hunger, with a reduction of 25 percent or more between their 2012 and 2021 GHI scores.
  • The long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are expected to include 30 million more people undernourished globally in 2030.

Although progress to Zero Hunger has been made, gradually, since 2000, the 2021 Global Hunger Index shows that the world is not on track to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030, which is one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. In many places, progress has been too slow, and is further threatened by the health, economic, and environmental crises of 2020. Read the full 2021 Global Hunger Index

A Report Card for Global Hunger

Woman winnowing maize

Esime Jenaia, a Lead Farmer for conservation Agriculture, at her homein Chituke village, Mangochi, Malawi. Concern has been carrying out Conservation Agriculture programming in Malawi since 2012, with the assistance of Accenture Ireland.

To reflect the multidimensional nature of hunger, the Global Hunger Index combines the following four indicators: 

1. Undernourishment

The percentage of undernourished people (aka, people with insufficient daily caloric intake), both at the local and national level. Our data comes from relevant United Nations agencies, who work to continually update the numbers.

2. Child Wasting

The percentage of children (under the age of 5) who suffer from wasting — that is, low weight for height. This is a sign of acute malnutrition. 

3. Child Stunting

The percentage of children (under the age of 5) who suffer from stunting — that is, low height for their age. This is a sign of chronic malnutrition. 

4. Child Mortality

The mortality rate for children under 5. This helps to give us a sense of how severe a country or region is, based on inadequate nutrition and unhealthy environments. 

Why do we use 4 factors? Combined, this set of indicators gives us a more three-dimensional sense of hunger. They reflect calorie deficiencies, as well as poor nutrition. They reflect adult as well as child populations — children being especially important here as they are more vulnerable to the effects of a lack of dietary energy, protein, and micronutrients. The effects of these deficiencies in childhood can lead to a lifetime of consequences, which is why we focus at Concern on the nutrition and health of mothers and their young children. This combination of factors also gives us more confidence in our data, taking into account the different ways in which random measurement errors can occur and ensuring that we’re presenting the most accurate information. 

Hunger in Context

Global hunger doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and many of its root causes show how hunger is often the result of several factors. Each year, we look at one of the most pressing issues in focus, offering insights into how it impacts hunger, and recommendations at a policy level for how it can be addressed. Recent topics have included: 

Setting the Standard 

The Global Hunger Index has received several national and international awards. In 2013, it received Gold in the BCP, Europe’s largest award for corporate media. It was recognized as setting the standard for reports in the nonprofit sector thanks to its credible, authentic information presented in a way that can be understood by all audiences. 

Other awards for the Global Hunger Index include:

  • BCP Best of Corporate Publishing: Gold Award (2013), Silver Award (2012)
  • The International Competition Honoring Excellence in Annual Reports: ARC Award (Gold) in the Humanitarian Category (2013)
  • Mercury Excellence Awards
    • Gold Winner, Annual Reports Overall Presentation (2011/2012)
    • Grand Winner, Best Annual Reports (2010/2011)
    • Silver Winner, Annual Reports Overall Presentation (2009/2010)
  • League of American Communication Professionals Vision Awards
    • Platinum Award, Annual Reports Competition (2010)
    • Top100 Annual Reports Worldwide (2010/11)

Your Support 

Your tax-deductible gift makes you part of a vital community that enables us to reach 9 million people each year with lifesaving nutrition solutions. The end of hunger is possible within our lifetime. Your support can make it happen.