Media Factsheet

Global Hunger Index 2015 - Asia Fact Sheet

Oct 12, 2015
2033 K St NW
Washington, DC 20006
United States

19 South, East, and Southeast Asian countries included in the report
Timor-Leste, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and North Korea have the highest hunger levels in Asia

Key Findings and Trends

  • Scores among the 117 countries in the report varied widely. Scores of 9.9 or lower denote low hunger; scores between 35.0 and 49.9 denote alarming hunger. This year no countries hit the threshold of 50, which signifies extremely alarming hunger levels. Yet, it is impossible to know exactly how severe hunger is in some of the world’s poorest countries that lack GHI scores.
    • The countries in South, East, and Southeast Asia with the lowest hunger levels are: China, Fiji, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam.
    • The countries in South, East, and Southeast Asia with the highest hunger levels are: Timor-Leste, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and North Korea.
      • Hunger in Timor-Leste and Afghanistan is considered “alarming.”
      • Eight countries are considered “alarming;” two of which are in this region.
    • Regional GHI scores:
      • Africa South of the Sahara: 32.2
      • South Asia: 29.4
      • East & Southeast Asia: 13.2
      • Near East & North Africa: 11.5
      • Eastern Europe & Commonwealth of Independent States: 8.3
      • Latin America & Caribbean: 8.0
    • East and Southeast Asia's GHI score dropped 36 percent relative to the 2000 GHI score.
    • South Asia’s score went down by 23 percent relative to the 2000 GHI score.
  • This year's report contains GHI scores for Afghanistan for the first time ever. In previous GHI reports, Afghanistan's hunger levels could not be calculated due to missing data. Afghanistan's 2015 GHI score is 35.4, which indicates an alarming level of hunger. Historic data are also now available for Afghanistan and show that the country's 2000 GHI score is 52.5, reflecting an extremely alarming level of hunger.
  • Tremendous progress has been made toward eliminating global hunger. The level of hunger in developing countries has fallen by 27 percent since 2000.
    • The 2015 GHI score for the developing world is 21.7, which is still considered “serious.”
    • Seventeen countries around the world—including Mongolia and Vietnam—reduced their hunger scores by 50 percent or more relative to their 2000 GHI scores.
      • Mongolia achieved one of the 10 biggest percentage reductions (56 percent) in GHI scores from the 2000 GHI to the 2015 GHI.
    • Globally, 68 countries—including 10 in South, East, and Southeast Asia—made considerable progress with scores that dropped by between 25.0 percent and 49.9 percent relative to the 2000 GHI scores.
    • Despite the progress made, levels of hunger remain “serious” or “alarming” in 52 of the 117 countries with GHI scores.
  • South Asia's GHI score is closely tied to that of India, where three-quarters of the South Asian population lives.
    • Hunger has been dropping at a moderate rate both in India and in the region as a whole since 1990, with just a short stall between 2000 and 2005.
    • Over the past decade, India has made some progress in fighting undernutrition.
      • Child wasting fell from 20 percent to 15 percent between 2005-2006 and 2013-2014.
      • Stunting fell from 48 percent to 39 percent in this period.
      • The Indian government has scaled up nutrition-specific interventions over the past decade.
      • Progress in reducing child undernutrition is uneven in India's states. One key factor that makes it more likely that babies will be born underweight is the low social status of women, which affects women's health and nutrition.
  • Despite the improvements, problems persist around the world.
    • 795 million people are still chronically undernourished—about one in nine on the planet.
    • More than one in four children are affected by stunting; and 9 percent of children are affected by wasting.
  • Conflicts are strongly associated with severe hunger. The countries with the highest GHI scores tend to be those engaged in or recently emerged from war.
    • Severe hunger can exist even without conflicts.
    • Several South Asian countries face serious or alarming levels of hunger despite being relatively stable and peaceful in recent history.

Global Hunger Index Background

The 2015 Global Hunger Index (GHI) is calculated for 117 countries for which data are available for four indicators: 

  • the percentage of the population that is undernourished,
  • the percentage of children under age five who suffer from wasting (low weight for height),
  • the percentage of children under age five who suffer from stunting (low height for age), and
  • the percentage of children who die before the age of five (child mortality).

GHI scores could not be calculated for all countries in the developing world. This year's report does not include GHI scores for several countries that had alarming or extremely alarming GHI scores in the 2014 report, including Burundi, Comoros, and Eritrea because undernourishment data were not available. GHI scores could not be calculated for Bhutan or Papua New Guinea due to missing data.

What are the scores based on?
The scores are based on source data for the four component indicators. The data for these indicators are continually revised by the United Nations agencies that compile them, and each year's GHI report reflects these revisions. The 2015 GHI reflects country-level data and projections spanning the period 2010 to 2016.

How do you interpret a GHI score?
An increase in a country's GHI score indicates that the hunger situation is worsening, while a decrease in the score indicates improvement in the country's hunger situation. 

Could GHI scores be calculated for all countries?
No, due to missing or unavailable data, GHI scores could not be calculated for all countries.  

More information can be found at: www.ifpri.org/ghi/2015

Countries in the South, East, and Southeast Asia region included in the report: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam

For more information, please contact:
IFPRI: Daniel Burnett, d.burnett@cgiar.org +1 202 627 4311 
Concern Worldwide: Paul O’Mahony, paul.omahony@concern.net +353 1 4491309 
Welthungerhilfe: Simone Pott, simone.pott@welthungerhilfe.de +49 228 22 88 132