10/16/2009 04:32 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

On World Food Day: Hunger Paint-by-Numbers, A Year Later

For 30 years on this day, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has organized World Food Day, to help bring awareness of global hunger and food insecurity. As I learned at this time last year, the numbers tell this story better than any analysis or punditry.

This week, I went back to the numbers to see what a difference a year (and a global recession) can make.

World population
6.8 billion, up from 6.7 billion (Source: U.S. Census Bureau)


The world's "undernourished”: consuming less than the minimum calories necessary to maintain minimum bodily functions. (Source: FAO)
1.02 billion, up from 923 million

The undernourished in the developing world
985 million, up from 907 million (Source: FAO)

People living on $1.25 or less per day (Source: World Bank)
1.4 billion, no on-the-record change for 2009, but in a paper presented to the G-20 summit last month in Pittsburgh (see page 8), the World Bank estimates that by the end of 2010, there will be an additional 89 million people who fit this criteria.

Equivalent of 89 million people
The combined populations of South Africa and Spain

U.S. population
307 million, up from 300 million in 2006 (Source: U.S. Census Bureau)
SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps) recipients

35.8 million, as of July 2009, up from 29 million in July 2008 (Source: Food Research and Action Center)

Percentage of population on food stamps
12 percent, up from 9.65 percent
Daily allotment for a family of four on food stamps
$11.46, up from $7, an $80/month increase due to the American Recovery & Investment Act of 2009, which went into effect in April, 2009

Originally published on True/Slant.