Comparison of Hunger across States: India State Hunger Index


Since 2006, IFPRI has published the Global Hunger Index (GHI), an annual ranking and report that measures the state of hunger both worldwide and by country. In 2008, IFPRI—in collaboration with the German NGO Welthungerhilfe and Irish NGO Concern Worldwide— constructed the India State Hunger Index (ISHI) to compare hunger levels between states within India and between Indian states and other countries ranked by the GHI.

Similar to the GHI, the ISHI captured three interlinked dimensions of hunger—inadequate food consumption, child underweight, and child mortality. The 2008 ISHI used two data sources to estimate these totals: the third round of the 2005–2006 National Family Health Survey for India (NFHS-III) and the sixty-first round of the National Sample Survey for 2004–2005.

The results of the 2008 ISHI highlighted the overall severity of the hunger situation in India, while revealing the variation in hunger across states. It was indeed alarming that not a single state ranked either "low" or "moderate" in terms of its index score; most states were found to have a "serious" hunger problem, and one state, Madhya Pradesh, had an "extremely alarming" hunger problem.


  • Finance Secretary of the Jharkhand State Government Smt Raj Bala Verma invited an IFPRI senior researcher to contribute to the state’s strategy formulation and requested further information regarding the results of the Index.
  • Speaking at a joint DFID, World Bank, US Agency for International Development, and UNICEF event in New Delhi on November 19, 2008, British Secretary of State for International Development Douglas Alexander highlighted figures from the 2008 ISHI.
  • The 2008 ISHI inspired the World Food Programme’s report, A Sub-regional Hunger Index for Nepal, as stated in the report’s acknowledgments section by its authors.
  • Both the 2008 GHI and ISHI were included in a policy brief by the Center for Legislative Research and Advocacy, which is led by the Parliamentarians Group for Millennium Development Goals, whose members are young parliamentarians in India.
  • A New York Times front page article featured the 2008 ISHI as well as quotes from an interview with the coauthor to draw attention to alarming hunger levels in India. A video featuring a senior IFPRI researcher accompanies the online article.

For more on the outcomes of IFPRI's work in India, go to the brochure.