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Sun Feb 18, 2024, 07:50 PM Feb 2024

Argentina's Mileise: Poverty hits 57%, highest number in 20 years

Argentina’s poverty rate reached 57.4% in January according to a new report by the Argentine Catholic University’s respected Social Debt Observatory.

It’s the highest poverty number since 2004, when the observatory began publishing reports, amid widespread economic deregulation and price hikes.

“Our perspective is that this will keep getting worse in February,” the observatory’s Director Agustín Salvia told the Herald. “The crisis is about to explode in systemic terms.”

According to the report, which analyzed the inflationary effects of the 54% Argentine peso devaluation in December, poverty rose from 44.7% in the third quarter of 2023 to 49.5% in December, then 57.4% in January.

Salvia said there is “a generalized impoverishment of Argentine society” as a result of “a decrease in real salaries” as well as “a high risk of losing jobs” and the devaluation of the peso. “Households can’t compensate the effects of inflation on the food basket with working more hours, like they did in 2023.”

“The working class and middle class who don’t receive any welfare suffered the biggest increase [in poverty levels],” the report said.

The observatory also found that 15% of Argentines are destitute (unable to afford a basic food budget) — the highest since 2004. Destitution afflicted 9.6% in the third quarter of 2023 and 14.2% in December, and went up even more in January “due to the increase in the cost of the basic food basket.”

At: https://buenosairesherald.com/society/poverty-in-argentina-hits-57-highest-number-in-20-years-report-says

Children enjoy a meal in a soup kitchen in Villa Fiorito, an impoverished Buenos Aires suburb, recently.

As real wages plummet and unemployment rises, demand in the nation's 41,000 soup kitchens has jumped 30% since far-right President Javier Milei was elected in November.

Milei, however, has effectively ended federal assistance to these centers - which now rely solely on provincial subsidies and private contributions.

The rise in income poverty from 44.7% in the third quarter 2023, to a shocking 57.4% in January, has only been seen twice in Argentine history - during collapses in 1989 and 2002.
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