The majority of the world’s undernourished people live in developing countries. Two-thirds live in just seven countries (Bangladesh, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia and Pakistan) and over 40 percent live in China and India alone.
Estimates for 2010 indicate that the number of undernourished people will decline in all developing regions, although with a different pace. The region with most undernourished people continues to be Asia and the Pacific, but with a 12 percent decline from 658 million in 2009 to 578 million, this region also accounts for most of the global improvement expected in 2010. The proportion of undernourished people remains highest in sub-Saharan Africa, at 30 percent in 2010.
FAO estimates that a total of 925 million people are undernourished in 2010 compared with 1.023 billion in 2009. That is higher than before the food and economic crises of 2008-2009 and higher than the level that existed when world leaders agreed to reduce the number of hungry by half at the World Food Summit in 1996.
The fact that nearly a billion people remain hungry even after the recent food and financial crises have largely passed indicates a deeper structural problem that gravely threatens the ability to achieve internationally agreed goals on hunger reduction.
Latest available statistics indicate that some progress has been made towards achieving MDG 1, with the prevalence of hunger declining from 20 percent undernourished in 1990–92 to 16 percent in 2010. However, with the world’s population still increasing (albeit more slowly than in recent decades), a declining proportion of people who are hungry can mask an increase in the number. In fact, developing countries as a group have seen an overall setback in terms of the number of hungry people (from 827 million in 1990–92 to 906 million in 2010).