World Hunger is Declining

smiling farmer holds up bunch of radishes
She Manuel Lopez shows off the radishes he grew on his farm in Honduras, thanks to seeds and irrigation from Lutheran World Relief

by
Aug 6, 2013

Sometimes it can feel as if the world is falling apart. Earthquakes, tsunamis, poverty and hunger dominate our headlines. Is there any hope for lasting change? Is sustainable development really possible?

We’ve put together a couple charts that show a more positive picture.

Hunger is Declining

With month after month and year after year of organizations asking for your donations to fight hunger, is it accomplishing anything? Here’s the data from 1991 to 2011:[source]

Chart showing decline in undernourished people globally, from 1 million in 1991 to 800,000 in 2011

In 1991 there was an estimated 1 billion hungry people in the world. The most recent statistics put that number at 870,000.

The chart above shows a slow, but relatively steady decline in global hunger over the last twenty years. On the surface it might not look like a very hopeful chart. But if we zoom out and compare that same statistic to the global population, it tells a different story.

Chart showing decline in undernourished people globally, with growth in global population

The world population has grown from 5.4 billion in 1991 to over 7 billion today.

The world population in 1991 was 5.4 billion people. Today it’s over 7 billion. What does it mean when we overlay these two charts?

We’re feeding 1.6 billion more people than we were 20 years ago!

The global struggle against hunger is working. We are feeding more people than ever around the world! We are proud that our work with small-scale farmers provides the backbone of that change.

What do you think of this? Does it give you more hope, or less? What do you think is the best way to fight hunger?

is Lutheran World Relief’s Senior Manager, Interactive Marketing, and an ordained pastor in the ELCA.

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