The Hunger Problem

690 million or 8.9% of people globally are undernourished.1

21.3% of children under the age of five around the world are too short for their age as a result of chronic malnutrition.2

1 in 10 Americans live in households without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.3

What are the causes of hunger?


Poverty is the main cause of hunger worldwide. The majority of hungry people in the world earn less than $1.90 a day.4

Job Instability

Job instability is a contributing cause of hunger, especially in high income countries like the United States when the economy goes into a slump and people no longer have the same job that enabled them to put food on the table.

Food Shortages and Waste

Food shortages and waste effects developing countries frequently. Smallholder farmers often go hungry if they do not have a surplus of food or good storage after harvest.

Poor Infrastructure

Poor Infrastructure can make it impossible to get food from one region to another.

Climate Change

Agricultural production accounts for 40% of total land area globally. According to the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Control, soil is eroding 10 to 100 times faster than it is being formed thanks to a combination of climate change and land degradation.5 This isn't sustainable for a world in which the population is expected to grow nearly 20% by the year 2050.5

War and Conflict

War and conflict are both causes and effects of hunger. Low income people of countries or regions experiencing conflict are often the ones to go hungry due to property damage or theft.

Nutritional Quality

Nutritional quality can effect people who are getting enough calories a day, but not essential nutrients. An estimated 1 in 4 children in the developing world suffer from malnutrition or hunger.


Discrimination can effect millions of people worldwide on the simple basis of race, gender, or religious identification. Disadvantaged groups are often left behind and forced into hunger even in financially stable countries.


  1. Sustainable Development Goal 2, Zero Hunger:

  2. State of Food Insecurity and Nutrition in the World 2020

  3. US Department of Agriculture (USDA Economic Research Service). (September 9, 2020). Number of food secure and food insecure individuals in the United States in 2019, by status (in 1,000 people)* [Graph]. In Statista.

  4. What Causes Hunger:

  5. J.R Porter et al., “Food Security and Food Production Systems,” in Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part A: Global and Sectoral Aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, eds. C.B. Field et al.