A report by the City governments statistics agency has looked into living conditions and social stratification in the City of Buenos Aires. The figure is determined by calculating people’s access to basic goods and services.
The report shows that, of the roughly 3 million people living in the capital, 578,000 were living under the poverty line, based on figures from the last quarter of 2016. Out of those living in poverty, 154,000 were considered destitute. To put this in slightly more digestible terms, this amounts to 18.9 percent living in poverty, and 5 percent of the total population in destitute situations.
The method used to produce a social stratification (categorizing people based on wealth and social status) involved comparing the value of a ‘basket’ of goods and services to cover a household’s basic needs, and comparing this with the income that the household has to purchase them.
Living below the poverty line is defined as not having enough money to cover the Total Basic Basket, but enough to afford the Basic Food Basket. Destitute situations, then, are those situations in which a family is unable to afford either.
Other categories factored into the study: a ‘fragile middle sector’ (the sector of the population who just have enough wealth to be able to cover around 1.25 basic basket made up 8.8 percent) of the City’s population. Meanwhile, the ‘vulnerable non-poor’ — those not technically considered to be below the poverty line but who struggle to pull together the necessary resources not to fall below it — amounted to another 8.7 percent.
It is not simply the case of the whole population feeling the squeeze however; the study also found that the Middle Class had grown from 49.7 percent, in the first quarter of the year to 52 percent in the last although it did fluctuate in the months in between. The middle classes are defined as those who are able to afford between 1.25 and 4 times the Basic Basket.