Who’s Hungry? And How Do We Know? recognizes that any attempt to reduce hunger requires a sound understanding of which people are affected. It differentiates between food shortage (regional food scarcity), food poverty (inadequate household food supplies), and food deprivation (individual malnutrition) in order to identify the causes of hunger and recommend means for effectively targeting interventions. The second question – how do we know who the hungry are? – receives as much attention as the basic question of who is suffering from hunger. The authors explain commonly-used means of measuring hunger, the assumptions embedded in these measures, and what we can and cannot conclude from the available evidence. Some questions about who is hungry receive far more definitive answers than others because the evidence differs in both quantity and quality. This book also examines how rules for food distribution operate under normal versus crisis conditions. The shortage/poverty/ deprivation framework is designed to call attention to hunger even when food is abundant as well as to learn how hunger is avoided even when food is scarce. The framework also integrates the insights of disciplines focusing on one or another of the levels, as well as the distinctive policy foci, of various organizations. There are already many tools in place for combating hunger. This book draws attention to the policies which are working as well as to the individuals, households, and communities which are underserved. Hunger is damaging and avoidable. To address the underlying causes of hunger rather than merely attempt its amelioration, causes must be clearly understood. Who’s Hungry? And How Do We Know? refines common thinking about the underlying causes of hunger by examining which people are most affected.
Laurie DeRose is an adjunct assistant professor of sociology at Brown University, USA. She teaches primarily in the fields of demography, development, and methodology. Ellen Messer is a nutritional anthropologist. She has been an associate professor at the Brown University World Hunger Program since 1986 and was its director from 1993 to 1996. She is co-editor of the Program’s biannual Hunger Report. Sara Millman trained as a demographer at the universities of Washington (M.A.) and Michigan (Ph.D.), USA. She worked with the World Hunger Program at Brown University for several years. Currently Dr. Millman teaches sociology at the University of Hawaii at Hilo.