2.1.2 Estimated Prevalence of Moderate or Severe Food Insecurity
Target 2.1: By 2030, end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round
Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
Custodian Organization: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Tier Classification: Tier II
To facilitate the implementation of the global indicator framework, all indicators are classified by the IAEG-SDGs (Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goals Indicators) into three tiers on the basis of their level of methodological development and the availability of data at the global level, as follows:
Tier I: Indicator is conceptually clear, has an internationally established methodology and standards are available, and data are regularly produced by countries for at least 50 per cent of countries and of the population in every region where the indicator is relevant.
Tier II: Indicator is conceptually clear, has an internationally established methodology and standards are available, but data are not regularly produced by countries.
Tier III: No internationally established methodology or standards are yet available for the indicator, but methodology/standards are being (or will be) developed or tested.
Definition: The indicator measures the percentage of individuals in the population who have experienced food insecurity at moderate or severe levels during the reference period. The severity of food insecurity, defined as a latent trait, is measured on the Food Insecurity Experience Scale global reference scale, a measurement standard established by FAO through the application of the Food Insecurity Experience Scale in more than 140 countries worldwide, starting in 2014.
Concepts: Extensive research over more than 25 years has demonstrated that the inability to access food results in a series of experiences and conditions that are fairly common across cultures and socio-economic contexts and that range from being concerned about the ability to obtain enough food, to the need to compromise on the quality or the diversity of food consumed, to being forced to reduce the intake of food by cutting portion sizes or skipping meals, up to the extreme condition of feeling hungry and not having means to access any food for a whole day. Typical conditions like these form the basis of an experience-based food insecurity measurement scale. When analysed through sound statistical methods rooted in Item Response Theory, data collected through such scales provide the basis to compute theoretically consistent, cross country comparable measures of the prevalence of food insecurity. The severity of the food insecurity condition as measured by this indicator thus directly reflects the extent of households’ or individuals’ inability to regularly access the food they need.
Rationale: Food insecurity at moderate levels of severity is typically associated with the inability to regularly eat healthy, balanced diets. As such, high prevalence of food insecurity at moderate levels can be considered a predictor of various forms of diet-related health conditions in the population, associated with micronutrient deficiency and unbalanced diets. Severe levels of food insecurity, on the other hand, imply a high probability of reduced food intake and therefore can lead to more severe forms of undernutrition, including hunger.
Short questionnaires like the FIES are very easy to administer at limited cost, which is one of the main advantages of their use. The ability to precisely determine the food insecurity status of specific individuals or households, however, is limited by the small number of questions, a reason why assignment of individual respondents to food insecurity classes is best done in probability terms, thus ensuring that estimates of prevalence rates in a population are sufficiently reliable even when based on relatively small sample sizes.
As with any statistical assessment, reliability and precision crucially depend on the quality of the survey design and implementation. One major advantage of the analytic treatment of the data through the Rasch model-based methods is that it permits testing the quality of the data collected and evaluating the likely margin of uncertainty around estimated prevalence rates, which should always be reported.
Limitations: An average of less than three minutes of survey time is estimated to collect FIES data in a well-conducted face-to-face survey, which should make it possible to include the FIES-SM in a nationally representative survey in every country in the world, at a very reasonable cost. FAO provides versions of the FIES-SM adapted and translated in each of the more than 200 languages and dialects used in the Gallup World Poll.
When used in the Gallup World Poll, with sample sizes of only about 1000 individuals, the width of confidence intervals rarely exceeds 20% of the measured prevalence (that is, prevalence rates of around 50% are estimated with margins of errors of plus or minus 5%). Obviously, confidence intervals are likely to be much smaller when national prevalence rates are estimated using larger samples.
Compared to other proposed non-official indicators of household food insecurity, the FIES based approach has the advantage that food insecurity prevalence rates are directly comparable across population groups and countries. Even if they use similar labels (such as “mild”, “moderate” and “severe” food insecurity) other approaches have yet to demonstrate the formal comparability of the thresholds used for classification, due to lack of the definition of a proper statistical model that links the values of the “indexes” or “scores” used for classification, to the severity of food insecurity. For this reason, care should be taken when comparing the results obtained with the FIES with those obtained with these other indicators, even if, unfortunately, similar labels are used to describe them.
Data Source: Data for this indicator was primarily collected from the United Nations Statistics Division’s Open SDG Data Hub. National level data from the UN Statistics Division is compiled by the respective custodian for the SDG indicator, unless otherwise noted. To learn more about the data used in this portal, visit the about page.
Data is accurate as of October 31, 2018.
2.1.2 Estimated Prevalence of Moderate or Severe Food Insecurity in the Sustainable Development Goals
Click on the SDG to reveal more information
2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
It is time to rethink how we grow, share and consume our food.
If done right, agriculture, forestry and fisheries can provide nutritious food for all and generate decent incomes, while supporting people-centred rural development and protecting the environment.
Right now, our soils, freshwater, oceans, forests and biodiversity are being rapidly degraded. Climate change is putting even more pressure on the resources we depend on, increasing risks associated with disasters such as droughts and floods. Many rural women and men can no longer make ends meet on their land, forcing them to migrate to cities in search of opportunities.
A profound change of the global food and agriculture system is needed if we are to nourish today’s 815 million hungry and the additional 2 billion people expected by 2050.
The food and agriculture sector offers key solutions for development, and is central for hunger and poverty eradication.
Related 2.1.2 Estimated Prevalence of Moderate or Severe Food Insecurity Targets
By 2030, end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round