Image depicting What Causes Hunger?
Photo: WFP/Reem Nada

What Causes Hunger?

It's Not What You Think

Ending hunger isn’t about supply. The world produces enough food to feed everyone on the planet. The problem is access and availability, both of which are disrupted by things like extreme weather, food waste, one’s gender and – worst of all – conflict.

Today, the world’s hungriest people are facing the coronavirus pandemic on top of all this.

Ending hunger is the greatest challenge of our time, but together it’s solvable.

The Biggest Drivers of Hunger


Conflict is the #1 driver of hunger in the world, and it’s entirely preventable. It uproots families, destroys economies, ruins infrastructure and halts agricultural production.

Photo: AP/CARE/Josh Estey
Extreme Weather

Climate change is one of the leading causes of global hunger, causing more frequent and intense extreme weather events. Over 80% of the world’s hungry people live in disaster-prone countries.

Women & Hunger

In nearly two-thirds of countries around the world, women are more likely than men to suffer from hunger and malnourishment. That’s because in many cases, women eat last and least.

Photo: WFP/Will Baxter
Food Waste

Nearly one-third of all the food produced globally each year is lost or wasted. If we could recover all the food we waste, we could feed every hungry person on the planet twice over.

covid-19 pandemic

New data shows the novel coronavirus has doubled the number of hungry people worldwide. Its impact on supply chains, humanitarian access, the global economy and food supplies threatens to push 20 countries into famine or famine-like conditions. For 30 million of these people, WFP is quite literally their only source of food. Without it, they face starvation.

Extreme Poverty

Half the world's population lives on less $5.50 a day. Poverty is often at the heart of hunger - it's brought on or made worse by drivers like conflict and natural disasters. When people can’t afford the food their families need, it limits their children’s physical and emotional development and perpetuates the cycle of hunger and poverty.

Here's What We're Doing About It

Hunger and malnutrition are part of an ongoing cycle, as both a cause and effect of many other factors too, like inequality and lack of education.

These factors are within our power to change.

That’s why hunger is also the world’s most solvable problem.


Take Action

Join Us on Instagram

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Be an Advocate

Send an email to your representative in Congress to advocate on behalf of the hungry.

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Play the Freerice Game

You pick the topic, and for every correct answer 10 grains of rice are donated to change lives around the world!

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Take the Global Hunger Quiz

How much do you know about the causes of global hunger? Let’s find out! The answers may surprise you.

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