We’re witnessing the worst food crisis in modern history, and new data shows it is about to go to an entirely new level. Right now, Hundreds of millions of people are desperately hungry all over the world, and an alarming number of children are facing starvation. According to the official UN website, approximately 735 million people – or 9.2% of the world’s population – are in a state of chronic hunger. New data provided by the organization underscores the severity of the situation, revealing a growing crisis.
Researchers found that an estimated 2.4 billion people faced food insecurity last year. “This classification signifies their lack of access to sufficient nourishment. This number escalated by an alarming 391 million people compared to 2019,” they reported. “The persistent surge in hunger and food insecurity, fueled by a complex interplay of factors, demands immediate attention and coordinated global efforts to alleviate this critical humanitarian challenge,” experts stressed.
In fact, the world is back at hunger levels not seen since 2005, and food prices remain higher in more countries than in the period 2015–2019. “Along with conflict, climate shocks, and rising cost of living, civil insecurity and declining food production have all contributed to food scarcity and high food prices,” the researchers noted.
In America, the abrupt announcement of the export ban triggered panic buying, which drove the price of rice to soar to a near 12-year high, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization. Food supplies are getting tighter and tighter, and millions of children are experiencing severe malnutrition right now. We would like to say that things are different in the United States, but we’re also seeing more and more children face similar hunger conditions. Time reported that the number of children living in poverty in the United States more than doubled over the past year, according to new figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Sept. 12. This marked the biggest increase since it began using its current method to count them. While in 2021, 5.2% of children were living in poverty, in 2022 that figure was 12.4%, or about 9 million children.
This hike was part of a wider rise in poverty recorded by the Census, and that can be attributed to surging food costs. Advocates for children say the leap was particularly stark for American kids. The surge in poverty is “stunning,” Sharon Parrott, president of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, said in a statement. Parrott pointed to the end of the expanded federal Child Tax Credit in 2022 as a cause of the sharp increase in child poverty and called for lawmakers to reinstate the benefit.
The rise in poverty over the past year amounts to an increase of 15.3 million people around the U.S. living in poverty. American households also earned less last year, the Census revealed. The median household income in 2022 was 2.3% lower compared to 2021, and that was the third year in a row that incomes have dipped. “These are statistically significant declines,” Rob Wilson, president of Employco USA and an employment trends expert, said in an email. “While many people rushed to defend the 2020 decline as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the fact that Americans’ incomes are still declining even now is very concerning.”
At this point, the lines at our food banks are getting longer. On top of all that, we are experiencing problems with our crops too. Unfortunately, these are only in the very early stages of this new global food crisis. A series of long-term trends will combine to make it impossible for us to feed everyone on the planet until the end of the decade.