The cost of a basic food basket in the Greater Buenos Aires Area surged by 9% in March, according to a report by the National Institute for Statistics and Census (INDEC) released on Thursday. That means that a family of four needed AR$87,719 (US$391 at the official rate, US$207 at the MEP dollar rate) that month to not be considered destitute.
The INDEC considers a family “destitute” when their monthly income is less than the basic food basket. A family is considered to be in poverty if they earn less than the basic food basket plus services, known as the total basic basket. The INDEC reported that the poverty threshold for March was AR$191,228 – an 8% increase compared to February.
The year-on-year increase for the basic food basket and the total basic basket were 120.1% and 113.2% respectively.
The figures for poverty and destitution are significantly higher than the general inflation rate for March, which totaled 7.7%, and year-on-year, which was 104.3%. During the first three months of the year, the basic food basket surged 30.6%, while March’s inflation increased by 21.7%.
In their general inflation report, the INDEC said that the “foods and non-alcoholic beverages” had a 9.3% monthly hike, above general inflation. Meats and meat-related products, dairy and eggs were among the goods with the largest price increases.
At the end of last year, the poverty rate reached 39.2%. During the same period of 2021, it was 37.3%.
Meanwhile, the destitution index was at 8.1% between July and December last year, compared to 8.8% in the same period of 2021.
With an estimated population of 46.2 million inhabitants, these figures imply that 18.1 million people are below the poverty line and, among them, 3.7 million are destitute.