Thursday, April 18, 2024

ECONOMY | 18-02-2024 10:21

UCA: Poverty in Argentina hit 20-year high of 57.4% in January

Prestigious UCA Social Debt Observatory says poverty is at 20-year high: 57.4%, equivalent to 27 million people, are now considered poor in Argentina. Extreme poverty affects 15%, some seven million people.

Destitution and poverty levels increased in the first two months of Javier Milei's administration, according to a new report from the influential Observatorio de la Deuda Social of the Universidad Católica Argentina (Social Debt Observatory of the Catholic University of Argentina, ODSA-UCA).

The study concludes that poverty rose from 44.7 percent in the third quarter of 2023 to 49.5 percent in December 2023 and 57.4 percent in January 2024, "as a result of increases in the cost of the basic food basket and household income."

It highlights the impact of the sharp devaluation of the peso in December, which led to an increase in prices, especially in the basic and food baskets.

According to the UCA's statistical series, January’s figure of 57.4 percent is the worst in the last 20 years. In 2004, poverty reached 54.8 percent of the population.

In turn, the document notes that "with respect to indigence (extreme poverty) levels, it is estimated that the population in this situation went from 9.6 percent observed in the third quarter of 2023 to 14.2 percent in December 2023 and 15 percent in January 2024".

Projected out to the whole country, about 27 million people are poor and seven million are living in extreme poverty, according to the UCA body.

Looking at households that benefit from social policies and welfare support, "it is observed that their level of extreme poverty, in the third quarter of 2023, stood at 19.7 percent of people, in December 2023 it increased to 28.8 percent, and in January 2024 it decreased to 23.8 percent, as a consequence of compensatory policies."

Likewise, residents in households benefiting from social policies presented poverty levels of 76.5 percent in the third quarter of 2023, 81.9 percent in December 2023 and 85.5 percent in January 2024."

It is worth remembering that UCA’s methodology for measuring poverty differs from that of the INDEC national statistics bureau. The latter measures poverty and indifference on a half-yearly basis , not quarterly, so that the payment of the half year aguinaldo bonus does not interfere in the measurement of the population's income.

The latest INDEC showed 40.1 percent of people were living in poverty in the first half of 2023. The bureau is due to update that data on March 27.

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Gonzalo Martínez

Gonzalo Martínez


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