10 Quick Facts on Global Hunger and the United Nations World Food Programme’s Life-Changing Work

Photo: Hugh Rutherford
World Food Program USA
Published October 20, 2021
Last Updated April 26, 2024

The world is in the midst of a global hunger crisis – the largest in recent history. In this year of unprecedented needs, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is scaling up to serve over 100 million people in 120 countries and territories.

Here are the 10 facts you need to know about hunger and our work:

1) Up to 783 million people worldwide are facing chronic hunger. That means one in ten people are not consuming enough food to lead an active, healthy life.

2) Up to 309 million people are facing extreme hunger.

3) 42 million people across 45 countries are on the brink of starvation or worse. Over 1 million people are facing catastrophic hunger.

4) In 2023, we reached an estimated 152 million people. This year, we’re planning to serve 150 million people and need $18 billion.

woman in green headscarf smiling
Photo: WFP/Shelley Thakral/2022

The U.N. World Food Programme works to support 150 million people in more than 120 countries and territories.

5) In areas of extreme hardship around the world, where the U.N. World Food Programme works to serve the hungriest of the hungry, women have a 10% higher chance of being hungry than men. That means more than half of the world’s hungriest people (60%) are women.

The U.N. World Food Programme is one of the world’s largest buyers of food and in 2022, procured over $70 million dollars’ worth of food from local farmers.

6) 45 million children under 5 are severely hungry – meaning they’ve suffered from recent and life-threatening weight loss due to lack of nourishment.

7) Conflict is the number one driver of hunger in the world.

man operating all-terrain vehicle
Photo: Hugh Rutherford

As head of the U.N. Logistics Cluster, the U.N. World Food Programme has 6,500 trucks, 140 planes and 20 ships active on any given day.

8) In 2022, we delivered over 4 million metric tons of food (the equivalent weight of 840,000 Asian elephants) and distributed over $3 billion dollars in cash and food vouchers.

9) We provide 20 million children around the world with school meals, nutritious snacks and take-home rations.

Woman holds handful of baobab tree leaves
Photo: WFP/Esther Ouoba/2022

More than half the people the U.N. World Food Programme serves are women and girls.

10) The average cost of a U.N. World Food Programme meal is $0.50 cents. For $75, we can feed a family of five for one month with an emergency box of food.

As the number of people experiencing acute hunger continues to rise, the U.N. World Food Programme will continue to work doggedly to bring food and aid to millions of people in need.

Have a question about our work? Contact us today.