Global Hunger Index 2019

The 2019 Global Hunger Index report (GHI) is the 14th in an annual series. It presents a multidimensional measure of global, regional, and national hunger.

How GHI Ranks Countries

The GHI ranks countries on a 100-point scale, with 0 being the best score (no hunger) and 100 being the worst, although neither of these extremes is reached in actuality.

Values less than 10.0 reflect low hunger; values from 10.0 to 19.9 reflect moderate hunger; values from 20.0 to 34.9 indicate serious hunger; values from 35.0 to 49.9 are alarming; and values of 50.0 or more are extremely alarming.

Key Points

  • This year’s report focuses on climate change—an increasingly relevant threat to the world’s hungry and vulnerable people that requires immediate action.
  • The 2019 GHI is calculated for 117 countries for which data are available and reflects data from 2014 to 2018.
  • Of the 117 countries with GHI scores, levels of hunger are still serious or alarming in 47 countries and extremely alarming in one country.

Three Dimensions of Hunger

The GHI scores are based on a formula that captures three dimensions of hunger—insufficient caloric intake, child undernutrition, and child mortality.

Four Component Indicators

The above-mentioned dimensions use four component indicators:

  1. UNDERNOURISHMENT: the share of the population that is undernourished, reflecting insufficient caloric intake.
  2. CHILD WASTING: the share of children under the age of five who are wasted (low weight-for-height), reflecting acute undernutrition .
  3. CHILD STUNTING: the share of children under the age of five who are stunted (low height-for-age), reflecting chronic undernutrition.
  4. CHILD MORTALITY: the mortality rate of children under the age of five.

Institutions Involved

Data on these indicators come from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, the World Bank, Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), and the United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UN IGME).

Level Of Hunger Across The Region

South Asia and Africa South of the Sahara have the highest regional 2019 GHI scores in the world, at 29.3 and 28.4, respectively. These scores indicate serious levels of hunger according to the GHI Severity Scale.

South Asia’s high GHI score is driven by its high rates of child undernutrition: rates of child stunting and child wasting there are the highest levels of any region in the report.

In Africa South of the Sahara, the region’s high GHI score is driven up by its undernourishment and child mortality rates, which are the highest of any region, while its child stunting rate is nearly as high as that of South Asia.

In contrast, the 2019 GHI scores for Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, Latin America and the Caribbean, East and Southeast Asia, and the Near East and North Africa range from 6.6 to 13.3, indicating low or moderate hunger levels. Yet even some countries in those regions have serious or alarming levels of hunger and undernutrition.

Remember This

According to the 2019 GHI, of the countries for which data are available, one country, the Central African Republic, suffers from a level that is extremely alarming, while four countries—Chad, Madagascar, Yemen, and Zambia—suffer from levels of hunger that are alarming. Out of 117 countries that were ranked, 43 countries have serious levels of hunger.

India’s Performance

In the 2019 Global Hunger Index, India ranks 102nd out of 117 qualifying countries. With a score of 30.3, India suffers from a level of hunger that is serious. Click to Find India’s Performance:

Understanding the Impacts of Climate Change

Climate change has direct and indirect negative impacts on food security and hunger through changes in food production and availability, access, quality, utilization, and stability of food systems. Food production is likely to fall in response to higher temperatures, water scarcity, greater CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere, and extreme events such as heat waves, droughts, and floods.

Recent studies show that higher CO2 concentrations reduce the protein, zinc, and iron content of crops.

Climate change can contribute to conflict, especially in vulnerable and food-insecure regions, creating a double vulnerability for communities, which are pushed beyond their ability to cope.

The combined impact of conflict and climate change destroys livelihoods, drives displacement, widens economic and gender inequalities, and undermines long-term recovery and sustainable development.

Policy Recommendations

  • Prioritize resilience and adaptation among the most vulnerable groups and regions
  • Better prepare for and respond to disasters
  • Take action to mitigate climate change without compromising food and nutrition security
  • Commit to fair financing

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