Where in the World is Hunger?

The “Technical Annex” of the 2008 FAO Hunger Report has a detailed list of those nations most afflicted by hunger. Table 1, ‘Prevalence of Undernourishment’, lists the nations most affected by hunger, both by nation and by larger geographic region. The nations with 30% or more of their population undernourished, as stated in the 2008 Hunger Report (based on 2003-2005 data) are as follows. (Data from the 2012 Hunger Report is in parentheses.)

Proportion of Undernourished in Total Population
2008 data / Nation (2012 data)

76% Democratic Republic of the Congo (no 2012 data)
68% Eritrea (65.4%)
63% Burundi (73.4%)
58% Haiti (44.5%)

47% Sierra Leone (28.8%)
46% Angola (27.4%)
46% Ethiopia (40.2%)
45% Zambia (47.4%)
43% Central African Republic (30.0%)
40% Liberia (31.4%)
40% Rwanda (28.9%)
40% Zimbabwe (32.8%)

39% Chad (33.4%)
38% Mozambique (39.2%)
37% Madagascar (33.4%)
37% Togo (16.5%)
35% Tanzania (38.8%)
34% Tajikistan (31.7%)
32% Kenya (30.4%)
32% North Korea (32.0%)
32% Yemen (32.4%)
30% Gambia (no 2012 data)

Almost all of the above nations are in sub-Saharan Africa, except Haiti, Tajikistan, North Korea, and Yemen. If we consider only nations with 40% or more of the population undernourished, Haiti would be the only non-African nation. This is true for the data in both the 2008 and the 2012 Hunger Report. The 2012 Report has far fewer nations with 40% or greater of their populations undernourished, but this appears to be due in large part to the new method of measuring hunger. The number of African nations with 30% or greater hunger remains the same, 18 nations, in the 2012 Report as in the 2008 Report (assuming that DR Congo and Gambia are still severely afflicted, despite the lack of data for those nations in the 2012 report).

Many other African nations, those not on the above list, have 20% or more of their population undernourished. Africa is where the highest percent of the population in each nation is hungry. Africa is where the hunger problem is most intense. Out of the 848 million hungry in the world (2003 to 2005 data in the 2008 Report), sub-Saharan Africa has 212.1 million. Fully 25% of the world hunger problem is in Africa (26.8% in the 2012 Report). By intensity and by sheer numbers, sub-Saharan Africa is where hunger lives.


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