Media Factsheet

Global Hunger Index 2015 Fact Sheet

Oct 12, 2015
United States

117 countries rated in the 2015 Global Hunger Index
Hunger levels remain “serious” or “alarming” in 52 developing countries

Key Findings and Trends

  • Tremendous progress has been made toward eliminating global hunger. The level of hunger in developing countries has fallen by 27 percent since 2000.
    • Seventeen countries reduced their hunger scores by 50 percent or more relative to their 2000 GHI scores.
    • Sixty-eight countries made considerable progress with scores that dropped by between 25.0 percent and 49.9 percent.
    • The countries that achieved the 10 biggest percentage reductions in GHI scores from the 2000 GHI to the 2015 GHI are Ukraine, Brazil, Azerbaijan, Croatia, Latvia, Peru, Mongolia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Venezuela, and Kyrgyz Republic.
    • Peru made impressive progress by cutting its 2000 GHI score by 56 percent.
    • Brazil cut its 2000 GHI score by roughly two/thirds.
    • Despite the progress made, levels of hunger remain “serious” or “alarming” in 52 of the 117 countries with GHI scores.
  • 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.
    • Countries scoring below 9.9: Argentina, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Ukraine, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Slovak Republic, Romania, Tunisia, Uruguay, Jordan, Macedonia, Lebanon, Russian Federation, Iran, Venezuela, Serbia, Mexico, Kazakhstan, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Bulgaria, Georgia, China, Algeria, Fiji, Colombia, Moldova, Peru, Kyrgyz Republic, Morocco, and Panama.
    • Countries with “alarming” hunger levels: Central African Republic, Chad, Zambia, Timor-Leste, Sierra Leone, Haiti, Madagascar, and Afghanistan.
    • Since 2000, Rwanda, Angola, and Ethiopia have seen the biggest reductions in hunger, with GHI scores down by between 25 and 28 points in each country.
    • The 2015 GHI score for the developing world is 21.7, which is still considered “serious.”
    • 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
    • In terms of the percentage change since the 2000 GHI, two regions—Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States and Latin America and the Caribbean—experienced declines of just over 40 percent. East and Southeast Asia saw a reduction of 36 percent. Africa south of the Sahara and the Near East and North Africa each reduced their GHI scores by 28 percent. Since 2000, South Asia’s GHI score dropped 23 percent. Given that the hunger level for Africa south of the Sahara stagnated between 1990 and 1995, it is notable that its GHI score has declined at a rate comparable to other regions’ rates since 2000.
    • 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.
    • Between 2000 and 2013, the most recent year for which data are available, the percentage of children dying before age five dropped from 8.2 percent to 4.9 percent.
    • 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.

Facts related to Chapter 3: Armed Conflict and the Challenge of Hunger: Is an End in Sight?

  • Until the middle of the 20th century, “the drumbeat of starvation was constant.”
    • The age of calamitous famines—those that kill more than one million people—is over.
    • Great famines, which kill 100,000 people or more, have reduced almost to a vanishing point.
  • 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.
    • Central African Republic and Chad are the worst-scoring countries in this year’s GHI. Both have experienced violent conflict and political instability in recent years.
    • In Angola, Ethiopia and Rwanda, hunger levels have fallen substantially since the large scale civil wars of the 1990s and 2000s have ended.
    • Severe hunger can exist even without conflicts: Several South Asian and African countries face serious or alarming levels of hunger despite being relatively stable and peaceful in recent history.
  • Reducing armed conflict and extreme poverty—and addressing their consequences—are key to ending hunger.
    • All people, no matter where they live, have a right to be protected from famine. Humanitarian aid should not be subject to political interests.
    • We need to address the root causes of conflict by fostering economic development and greater equity within and between countries while strengthening good governance.
    • Food security policies, including targeted social safety nets, and specific health and nutrition programs enable people to become more resilient to crises.
    • With the current mass displacement, we need a global response to support those fleeing conflict and persecution within or outside of their home countries.

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 the Democratic Republic of the Congo or Somalia 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.

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

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