You might not notice it from the way that inflation, conflict and pandemic have driven up the cost of food in recent years, but the specter of hunger that has haunted humanity for millennia is moving closer to being vanquished.

In middle-income countries, the number of people undernourished fell by roughly a quarter, or 162 million, between 2006 and 2020. That’s more than enough to offset the 43 million increase in low-income nations, which are mostly in sub-Saharan Africa.

In China, home to most of history’s biggest famines, the prevalence of childhood stunting — a typical indicator of malnutrition — is now at levels comparable to the U.S. The shift in India has been just as dramatic. In 2006, more than a third of women were underweight. By 2019, that figure had been cut almost in half.