The numbers of hunger
In general, rising prices lead to a loss of purchasing power among households. But inflation especially affects low-income households because they have less assets, savings, and possibilities to respond to inflation.
Slowing the pace of price increases in 2023 does not mean that hunger is decreasing. In the DANE Social Pulse Survey of December 2022,
- 73.5% of households reported eating three or more meals a day,
- 25.1% two meals, and
- 1.5% per meal.
These numbers are not as bad as during the pandemic, but they have not improved this year. Therefore, 26.4% of households will suffer from hunger (if we call hunger the consumption of less than three meals per day).
The highest percentage of food insecurity is in Cartagena, Sincelejo, Florencia, Valledupar, Montería, Ibagué, Neiva and Bogotá —with a range between 30% and 60% of households. The cities with the least hunger are Bucaramanga, Barranquilla, Santa Marta, Cúcuta, Armenia, Riohacha, Cali, Popayán, Manizales and Pereira —with between 11 and 22% of households.
But the hungriest cities don’t necessarily have the highest inflation today, or vice versa. In fact, Bogotá, Tunja, Medellín and Manizales registered year-to-date inflation higher than the national average —5.38%—, while in Cartagena, Bucaramanga, Pasto, Villavicencio, Neiva, Riohacha, Valledupar, Ibagué, Florencia and Sincelejo inflation is less than 5%.
To better understand the economic situation of households, the macroeconomic suffering or distress index can be used, which takes into account the reduction in the purchasing power of income (inflation) and the conditions for generating income in those worker (unemployment rate).