Global poverty is an issue that is intimately connected to global hunger. Throughout the world there are 795 million people who go to bed hungry each night, and many of those people are living in extreme poverty – on less than $1.25 a day. From small-farm families to expecting mothers, poverty and hunger are daily issues. In this post, Elyssa Salinas explores 10 facts about poverty and their connection to hunger.
1. 795 million people, or 1 in 9, are hungry in the world.
Throughout the world there are millions of people who go to bed hungry or undernourished. The United Nations defines undernourishment as “not able to acquire enough food to meet the daily minimum dietary energy requirements, over a period of one year” and hunger as being chronically undernourished.
2. 78 percent of people living in extreme poverty – on less than $1.25 a day – come from rural areas.
Poverty has declined globally, but development has not been even. While some countries in Asia are leading the decline, there are also areas in sub-Saharan Africa where the number of people in extreme poverty is increasing.
3. About 50 percent of people suffering from hunger are from small-farm families.
In small villages or remote areas there are not many opportunities for employment beyond small farming. These populations are vulnerable to crises, including natural disasters, changes in natural resources, and fluctuating harvests.
4. Of the other 50 percent of people suffering from hunger, about 20 percent are landless families that depend on farming; 10 percent are in communities dependent on fishing, herding or forest resources; and the last 20 percent are in urban areas mostly living in shanty towns.
One of the ways to reduce rural poverty has been through economic development that provides a greater job market, but this cannot stand on its own. Sustainable developments happen when social services are also brought in to help facilitate the economic changes that are taking place.
5. The number of people suffering from hunger could be reduced by up to 150 million if women had the same access to resources as men.
Empowering women is a vital part in defeating hunger. When women are educated and given resources, they are able to have greater yields in their harvest leading to greater economic prosperity and less child malnutrition.
6. 17 million children are born underweight due to inadequate nutrition before and during pregnancy.
Tradition and culture sometimes dictate food consumption for women. In some cultures, women eat last after the rest of the family has been fed, and during times of crisis, women generally are the first to sacrifice their food for the well-being of their families.
7. About 50 percent of all pregnant women in developing countries are anemic, which causes about 110,000 deaths during childbirth.
Expecting mothers require an increase in food and sometimes have special dietary needs in order to keep themselves healthy during pregnancy. When women do not have their dietary needs met, the results can be fatal for them and the child.
8. About 146 million children are underweight in developing countries due to acute or chronic hunger.
Many times child hunger is inherited because many expecting mothers do not have adequate nutrition during pregnancy. The effects of acute or chronic hunger can lead to irreversible damage.
9. 2.8 million children die every year from the effects of malnutrition.
Malnutrition is defined as “a condition resulting when a person’s diet does not provide adequate nutrients for growth and maintenance or when a person is not able to adequately utilize the food consumed due to illness.” Children who suffer from malnutrition are often less able-bodied, prone to illness and mentally deficient.
10. Globally, 1 in 4 children are stunted, and in developing countries the proportion rises to 1 in 3.
Stunting is “a gradual and cumulative process during the 1,000 days window from conception through the first two years of a child’s life.” When children are stunted, they have irreversible damage to their physical form, health and cognitive functioning.