Argentina faces unprecedented social crisis as poverty reaches 57.4%

The report estimated that there were almost 27 million poor people and 7 million indigent people in the country.

The ODSA-UCA (Spanish acronym for “Social Debt Observatory of the Argentine Catholic University”) report revealed that poverty in Argentina reached 57.4% of the population in January, the highest level since 2004, when it was 54%.

The document also showed that indigence increased from 14.2% in December to 15% in January, and poverty rose from 49.5% to 57.4% in the same period.

The report estimated that there were almost 27 million poor people and 7 million indigent people in the country. The main factors that contributed to the economic vulnerability were the high inflation rate, which was 254.2% year-on-year and 20.6% monthly in January, and the rising costs of the basic food basket, which grew by 258.2% year-on-year.

The report conducted two simulation exercises to measure the deterioration of the social situation: The first one recalculated the levels of indigence and poverty based on the changes in the baskets and the income of the households in December 2023. The second one replicated the same scenario for January 2024.

The INDEC (acronym for National Institute of Stadistics and Census) data for the first half of 2023 indicated that poverty was 40.1%, with the Argentine northeast being the poorest and most indigent region of the country, with 42% and 10.6%, respectively. Other regions followed, such as Greater Buenos Aires, the northwest, the Cuenca area, the Pampas region, and Patagonia. Indec will update the figures on March 27, as it evaluates poverty every six months.

The president of Argentina, Javier Milei, commented on the UCA numbers and blamed the country’s political “caste” for the problem.

He wrote on his social networks: “The real legacy of the caste model: 6 out of 10 Argentines are poor. The destruction of the last century is unmatched in Western history. Politicians have to realize that the people voted for change and that we will sacrifice ourselves to achieve it. We did not come to participate in the mediocre game of politics. We came to change the country.”

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