30.3 percent of the Argentine population and 21.5 percent of the country’s households finished 2016 below the poverty line, according to the latest report from the government’s official statistics agency, Indec. The number, while shockingly high, does present somewhat of a silver lining: it represents a 1.9 percent drop compared to the agency’s findings for the first semester of the same year, when it determined that 32.2 percent of the population was living in poverty.
Indec gets its data from surveys it conducts in 31 urban centers throughout the country, which altogether total more than 27.3 million people. Out of that number, 8.2 million were not able to afford the Total Basket of Goods (CBT), which determines the poverty line. The agency obtains its final figure when projecting its numbers to the entire Argentine population.
The report goes on to inform that 6.1 percent of the population — or 1.65 million people — and 4.5 percent of all households couldn’t afford the Basic Basket of Foods (CBA), which determines the destitution line. The difference between these two baskets is that the CBT takes the amount of money needed to acquire the food and services that are essential to subsist — such as running water, electricity, etc. — in consideration while the CBA only includes food.
The study also shows the sharp contrast in the realities of the City and Province of Buenos Aires. While the poverty rate within the boundaries of the General Paz highway reached 9.5 percent, the number goes as high as 29.5 percent in the Province. The percentage of people under the destitution line was of 2.3 and 6.4 of their populations, respectively.
The numbers are also quite uneven in the different regions of the country. As it has always been the case throughout history, the poverty rates is higher in the north, compared to the south. The Province of Santiago del Estero has the highest rate in the country with 44 percent. The city of Concordia, in Entre Ríos, and the Province of San Juan, follow close with 43.6 and 43.5 percent, respectively.
As for the regions with the lowest rates — bar the City of Buenos Aires — Ushuaia is in the first place with 9.7 percent. The cities of Río Gallegos, in the Province of Santa Cruz, and Comodoro Rivadavia, in Chubut, follow with 14.4 and 15.7 percent rates.