I'm looking for a global overview of hunger and malnourishment deaths in the half century following WWII. While Wikipedia helpfully provides a list of famines, this only lists famine events - typically defined thus:

  • At least 20% of households in an area face extreme food shortages with a limited ability to cope
  • The prevalence of acute malnutrition in children exceeds 30%
  • The death rate exceeds two persons per 10,000 persons per day

I'm looking for good estimates for hunger deaths and excess mortality due to malnutrition in the period, including those outside of famine events as describe above.

  • 1
    You might find something under the FAO if you can find any early published statistics on general (non-famine) data.
    – justCal
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 13:38
  • The wiki list is lying. The hunger in SU was not in 47, but during all war and several years after. Only in 50-ties it started to improve somehow. My mother was proud that their family did not beg. (Her father was a master at the factory, and her mother - a school teacher, both worked). But she strongly suspects that the mother DID beg, only it was concealed from children). My stepfather did beg in late 1940-ties. He had only one working mother, the father was killed for being a German. Yes, Moscow had not hunger this time.
    – Gangnus
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 15:11
  • I am afraid it is practically impossible to get real statistics for this. How can you imagine collecting such statistics? People are dying around and you are walking among them and counting dead bodies? In 1933 in Rostov-on-Don every morning around the city carts were moved to collect dead bodies on the streets. These who organized the hunger were not interested in statistics and these, who struggled for life, had no time for it. That hunger is in the list, but not because of the statistics.
    – Gangnus
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 15:15
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because the demand for some book on the subject is considered as such on the whole StackExchange.
    – Gangnus
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 8:49

1 Answer 1


A few locations - mainly from economic history & cliometrics:

  • I checked the second source - again lies. The hunger in SU was not in 31-33, but in 29-33, and not limited to Ukraine. The author used some nationalistic source, obviously.
    – Gangnus
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 15:19
  • 3
    @Gangnus - Are you one of those whose opinion is the absolute truth and everyone else's is relative? Please indulge me, what it the correct stat according to you?
    – J Asia
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 15:53
  • 2
    Dear @Gangnus: While you are right to say that famine in USSR was not limited to the stated time interval and the particular region (Ukraine), you cannot dismiss the entire 40-page long article on the basis of a single end-note and a line in one table. At most, one can say that the statistic in the paper is incomplete. Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 17:21
  • Dear @MoisheCohen. Not dismissed. Worse. Let us decide - are we considering it as a popular article or as a science article? If it is a popular article, then, sorry, FOR ME speaking about only half of victims of some large event, ignoring the other half, is a crime. And I gladly agree to discuss the article, but only as an object of interrogation. If it is a science article, using of so biased sources totally disqualifies the article. Don't forget, that if you caught the author on one lie, there can be MANY of them, but still unrecognized. Really, it is sad that I have to explain that.
    – Gangnus
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 8:22
  • @JAsia I have explained - the exact statistics for such events can exist only in very special historical situations. Such as Nazis' acts, where they proudly registered their crimes, not considering them such. Of course, we can use the postfactum evaluations, based on other statistics that reveal numbers we are interested in, but very, very imprecisely. So, a try to publish "the correct stat" will be almost always a fraud.
    – Gangnus
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 8:32

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