2011 Global Hunger Index

The Challenge of Hunger: Taming price spikes and excessive food price volatility

Klaus von Grebmer, Maximo Torero, Tolulope Olofinbiyi, Heidi Fritschel, Doris Wiesmann, Yisehac Yohannes, Lilly Schofield, Constanze von Oppeln
global hunger index

This year’s Global Hunger Index (GHI) shows that global hunger has declined since 1990, but not dramatically, and remains at a level characterized as “serious.”

Across regions and countries, GHI scores vary greatly. The highest GHI scores occur in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. South Asia reduced its GHI score substantially between 1990 and 1996, but this fast progress could not be maintained. Though Sub-Saharan Africa made less progress than South Asia after 1990, it has caught up since the turn of the millennium.

From the 1990 GHI to the 2011 GHI, 15 countries were able to reduce their scores by 50 percent or more. Nineteen countries moved out of the bottom two categories – “extremely alarming” and “alarming.” In terms of absolute progress, Angola, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Niger, and Vietnam saw the largest improvements between the 1990 GHI and the 2011 GHI.

Twenty-six countries still have levels of hunger that are extremely alarming or alarming. The countries with extremely alarming 2011 GHI scores – Burundi, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Eritrea – are in Sub-Saharan Africa. Most of the countries with alarming GHI scores are in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Among the six countries in which the hunger situation worsened, the Democratic Republic of Congo stands out. Its GHI score rose by about 63 percent owing to conflict and political instability. (Because of time lags in the availability of data, the 2011 GHI does not reflect the impacts of the 2010–11 food price crisis or the 2011 famine in the Horn of Africa.)