Poverty in Argentina hits 55%, private report says

According to the UCA Social Debt Observatory, 17.5% of Argentines are destitute

Poverty in Argentina reached an alarming 55% during the first trimester of 2024, while 17.5% of Argentines are destitute, according to a new report by the Argentine Catholic University’s respected Social Debt Observatory. Observatory director Agustín Salvia reported the findings in an exclusive interview with Herald sister publication Ambito.  

Extrapolated to the population of 31 urban agglomerates, this means that around 25 million Argentines are poor and close to eight million live in extreme poverty, below the Basic Food Basket (CBA, for its Spanish initials). 

A breakdown of the most recent data from the National Institute of Statistics and Census (INDEC) shows that poverty rose to 44.8% in the last quarter of 2023, while destitution climbed to 13.8%. Following the 54% devaluation of the peso in December, the former increased to 45.2% and the latter to 15.4%.

“Food insecurity surveyed by the ODSA-UCA in urban areas is at 24.7% for people, 20.8% for households, and 32.2% for children and teenagers. On the other hand, 10.9% of people, 8.8% of households, and 13.9% of children and teenagers are in an even more serious situation with severe food insecurity,” the report says. 

Food insecurity is at 26.4% for individuals, 21.8% for households, and 35% for children and teenagers in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area. When considering severe food insecurity, values are at 9.9%, 12.7%, and 16.5%, respectively, according to the report titled “Structural social debts in Argentine society.”

20.6% of households don’t get enough food 

In Argentina, 20.6% of households suffer from food insufficiency. This totals close to 3.7 million dwellings, which house about 11 million people. There are different state actions meant to address these high numbers.

“Considering children and teenagers, 42.6% of them live in households that receive the AUH and Tarjeta Alimentaria welfare programs, 50% attend school soup kitchens, 36.7% receive food boxes or sacks of food from canteens and 11.1% receive food boxes or sacks of food from other soup kitchens; this means that many households receive more than one benefit,” the report states.

2024 perspectives for poverty and destitution 

In the midst of a recession, the reduction of poverty by the end of 2024 will depend on whether inflation keeps going down, investments begin, and the economy reactivates. “But we don’t know how much longer this recession will last. If inflation goes down due to tariff adjustments and investment is not generated, poverty will remain close to 50% and indigence at 15%,” Salvia pointed out.

Although he predicted that in June there will be a “little summer” thanks to the additional mid-year half salary known as aguinaldo and the increase in pensions and social programs, which will reactivate consumption (it has been on a steep downward curve). But this may also bring an inflationary acceleration.

“In order to reduce poverty, inflation should be reduced and new jobs should be created with salaries that grow above the CPI, as well as social programs. Thus, by the end of the year, the projection of poverty would be close to 38%/40% and indigence 12%, as long as a context of low inflation and economic reactivation is generated,” Salvia evaluated.

Originally published in Ambito


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