2008 India State Hunger Index: Key Findings & Facts

  • India ranks 66 out of 88 countries on the 2008 Global Hunger Index (GHI).
  • Like the GHI, the 2008 India State Hunger Index (ISHI) is calculated using three equally-weighted indicators: the proportion of the population that is calorie deficient, the prevalence of underweight children under the age of five, and the under-five mortality rate.
  • The ISHI calculates hunger levels for 17 major states in India, representing more than 95 percent of the population.
  • India is home to the world’s largest food insecure population, with more than 200 million people who are hungry.
  • When compared to countries in the GHI, Indian states’ rankings would range from 34th (Punjab) to 82nd (Madhya Pradesh). This indicates substantial variability among states.
  • All Indian states have at least a “serious” level of hunger; there is not a single state with low or even moderate levels.
  • Twelve states fall into the “alarming” category and one (Madhya Pradesh) is considered to have an “extremely alarming” level of hunger.
  • India’s poor performance on the GHI is primarily due to its relatively high levels of child malnutrition and undernourishment resulting from calorie deficient diets.
  • ISHI scores are closely aligned with poverty, but there is little association with state-level economic growth; high levels of hunger are seen even in states that are performing well economically.
  • Improving child nutrition is of utmost urgency in most Indian states because of its large contribution to the ISHI scores. All states also need to improve strategies to facilitate inclusive economic growth, ensure food sufficiency, and reduce child mortality.
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