Photo via La Izquierda Diario

The Buenos Aires City statistics agency reported today that poverty and destitution rates have seen a drop in comparison with the previous quarter and the same period in 2016.

The numbers vary depending on whether we look at households or individual rates, as the former present significantly lower stats. Let’s take a look at them separately.

The agency reported that in the first quarter of 2017, 10.2 percent of BA households didn’t make enough money to afford a Basic Basket of Goods (CBT, the amount of money necessary to acquire the goods and services considered basic and necessary to not be poor.) In march, a CBT for a family of four — two adults and two children — cost AR$ 14,600. The figure represented a 3.3 percent drop compared to the last quarter of 2016, and a 2.1 percent drop compared to the same period of last year.

Moreover, 2.9 percent of households in the City were not able to afford the Basic Basket of Foods (CBA) — in this case, the amount of money needed to purchase the basic foods to subsist, which establishes the destitution line. At that moment, the cost of the CBA clocked in at AR$ 7,200 per month. 0.5 percent of the City’s households were able to rise above the destitution line between the last quarter of 2016 and the first one of the current year, while the number increases to 1.2 percent when compared to the same period of last year.

The report goes on to show that the middle class was by far the largest sector in the city. 55.3 percent of households were considered middle class by the parameters of the report, while 17.9 were considered upper class. The rest was distributed between the considered “fragile middle sectors” and “non-poor but vulnerable” households, who are between the middle class and the poverty line.

Now, when we move on to analyze the rates for individuals, we can see that they are quite higher: 14.9 percent of the population — or 456,000 people — were under the poverty line in the first quarter of 2017. But same as the previously analyzed sector, there was also a substantial decrease when comparing the numbers with the previous periods, as the rate in the last quarter of 2016 clocked in at 18.9 percent, and at 17.6 percent in the first quarter of the same year.

In regards to the destitution rate, four percent of people were not able to afford the CBA. The figure represents an improvement of 1 percent compared to the previous period and of 1.4 percent compared to the first quarter of 2016.

“In the first quarter of 2017 there were inter-annual increases in the households’ income, which, in parallel to more moderate price increases, improved poverty rates,” the report concludes.