Economic Indicators

High inflation means children go hungry around the world – survey

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FILE PHOTO: Food sits in a box of free groceries for residents at a food pantry run by La Colaborativa in Chelsea, Massachusetts, U.S., March 8, 2023. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo

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By Daniel Trotta

(Reuters) – High levels of inflation and increased costs of living are contributing to worldwide hunger, according to a survey of 16 countries commissioned by the humanitarian group World Vision International.

The survey, which comes ahead of World Food Day on Monday, found that 59% of parents surveyed were very concerned about child hunger and malnutrition in their families, with 46% worried about finding the money to buy food.

It also found that 37% of parents said their children fail to receive proper nutrition each day and 21% said their children have gone hungry in the last month.

The percentage of children going to bed hungry rises to 38% in low-income countries. In the United States, 18% of respondents said a child has gone to bed hungry in their home.

“Hunger is a global problem, and it isn’t limited to any one country or part of the globe,” Andrew Morley, the president of World Vision International, said in a statement.

The survey, conducted by Ipsos, polled more than 14,000 people of all income levels.

Among respondents who said their children went to sleep hungry, 46% cited inflation and the cost of living as the main reason. The next two most common reasons cited were low household income (39%) and not enough government focus on ending hunger (25%).

Surging prices have affected economies around the globe due to factors including pandemic-related disruptions to global supply chains and the effects of Russia’s war in Ukraine. Persistently high inflation was the biggest economic concern of economists this year, according to Reuters polls.

The 16 countries included Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, South Korea and the United States where Ipsos surveyed about 1,000 adults in each nation. In Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq and Malawi, it surveyed about 500 people in each country.

Inflation and increased cost of living was the most-cited cause of child hunger in 11 of the 16 countries, reaching a high of 70% in Bangladesh. But wealthy countries such as Canada (68%), Australia (66%) and Britain (66%) also cited higher prices as the main cause.

(This story has been corrected to fix the spelling of Andrew Morley in paragraph 5)

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