We can end hunger.

The proof is the amazing progress the world has made in just the past two generations. In 1960, 1 in 3 people was hungry. Today, chronic hunger affects 1 in every 8 or 9 people – about 795 million people worldwide.

But with so many people going hungry daily, hunger is still a huge problem. Picture all the people in the United States and the European Union. Almost that many people simply don’t have enough to eat.

Hunger causes immense suffering and sometimes death. The dead are most commonly young children – thousands every day, year after year. Those who survive early childhood malnutrition face lifelong health and learning problems. They are robbed of their God-given potential.

Adults – workers and parents – can’t be fully productive without enough nutritious food. Countries where many people are hungry have weaker economies. And as long as people are hungry, the world is less secure.

But with access to opportunity and the right tools, people can create change. They can do it no matter where they live.

Take Bangladesh, which has millions of hungry people. Farmers there face unusually challenging conditions. A third of the country floods every year, and much of the soil contains arsenic. Yet Bangladesh has made dramatic progress. Hunger and malnutrition have decreased dramatically.  

Here in the United States, children rarely die of hunger. However, 1 in every 5 children in the U.S. is uncertain about having food to eat. Their families may regularly run out of grocery money. Many children who “look healthy” do not get enough nutrients. Their health and ability to learn in school are weakened.

Bread and its partners tell our nation’s decision makers that we can’t tolerate hunger anywhere. The government can’t end hunger by itself, but government commitment is crucial to the progress that is possible. For example, Brazil’s nationwide “Zero Hunger” effort made impressive progress in just 10 years. Britain has reduced poverty since the late 1990s.

We can virtually end hunger in our time.

Each person who takes action with Bread for the World helps us get closer to that goal. When we speak up and urge our nation’s decision makers to help end hunger in our country and around the world, we are making it happen together.

"They will hunger no more, and thirst no more."

Revelation 7:16

The cause of hunger in the world is not a shortage of food but rather the access to food. Photo: Todd Post/Bread for the World

What is Hunger

Everyone feels hungry on a daily basis. Most people are able to satisfy this craving and need. Even if not immediately, they can count on having a meal or snack within hours. This is not the type of hunger that Bread is concerned with.

People who suffer chronic hunger don’t have the option of eating when they are hungry. They do not get enough calories, essential nutrients, or both. People who are hungry have an ongoing problem with getting food to eat. They have a primary need--how to feed themselves and their children today and tomorrow. They have little energy for anything else.

It is commonly known that the cause of hunger in the world is not a shortage of food but rather the access to food. Photo: Laura Pohl/Bread for the World

What Causes Hunger

Worldwide, the number of hungry people has dropped significantly over the past two decades, but 821 million people continue to struggle with hunger every day.

Many factors contribute to the state of hunger both in the United States and abroad. The reasons are complex and varied, and often interconnected.

Photo: Todd Post/Bread for the World

Where does hunger exist?

822 million people experience hunger every day. Hunger exists in the U.S. just as it does overseas. In the last few decades, the world as a whole, and developing countries in particular, have seen steady but slow progress against hunger. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, the percentage of the world’s population that is undernourished has decreased from 23.4 percent in 1990-92 to 13.5 percent in 2012-14. That progress, however, is uneven across regions.

Bread’s victories often have lasting effects and set policy and funding that benefit people for years. Photo: UN / Kibae Park

Who Experiences Hunger

Anybody can experience hunger at any time. But certain groups and people living under certain conditions are more at risk of hunger. Bread is concerned about hunger throughout the entire U.S. and world, and so we speak in broad, general terms.

from our Resource Library

For Education

  • Election Resources

    One of the best times to raise the issues of hunger and poverty is during election campaigns. Engage candidates in your state/district on hunger and poverty using our elections resources.
  • Racially Equitable Responses to Hunger During COVID-19 and Beyond

    By Marlysa D. Gamblin and Kathleen King

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines food insecurity as when a person or household does not have regular, reliable access to the foods needed for good health. Black, Indigenous, and Other People of Color (BIPOC) have historically had higher...

  • Fact Sheet: COVID-19 Global Pandemic, Better Nutrition Protects Lives

    With the coronavirus now spreading in low-resource contexts and new waves of infection expected in the coming year, better nutrition for vulnerable people is more important than ever.

For Faith

  • Finding Hope, Ending Hunger on Both Sides of the Border: A Bilingual Latino Devotional

    Devotional writers challenge us to feel the Spirit of God within us and to hear God’s urgent call to demand justice so all can put food on the table.
  • The Bible on Health as a Hunger Issue

    “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in faith.” These words from Colossians 2:6 remind us of the faith that is active in love for our neighbors.

    The Bible on...

  • Unity Declaration on Racism and Poverty

    A diverse body of Christian leaders calls on the churches and Congress to focus on the integral connection.

    Dear Members of Congress,

    As the president and Congress are preparing their plans for this year, almost 100 church leaders—from all the families of U.S. Christianity—are...

For Advocacy


African at Heart

November 22, 2019


From the Blog