About one in five people in the City of Buenos Aires is poor, according to the latest report by the capital’s statistics bureau. Considering that the national poverty rate is 32.2 percent, that hardly seems very notable. Except that the study makes clear that in the second quarter of the year, the number of poor soared by an additional 106,000 people in a population that is a bit over three million.

The poverty rate in the City of Buenos Aires soared 3.5 percentage points from the first quarter, when it was 17.6 percent, to the second quarter.

The report differentiates between poverty (pobreza) and destitution (indigencia). The poverty threshold (or line) refers to the minimum amount of money needed to buy basic goods and services as well as food, while the destitution line refers to whether or not a household can satisfy their basic dietary needs only.

With that in mind, the Bureau outlined that 21.1 percent of the city’s population is below the poverty line — a total of 644,000 people — while 5.8 percent is below the extreme poverty line — 176,000 people.


Beyond the poverty rate, the new City statistics expose a general decrease in quality of life across different social sectors: 100,000 people who had been registered as “high-income” in the first quarter now fall under the “middle class” category.

However, even those who are above the poverty line are apparently not safe. The report outlines what it calls the “fragile middle class” and the “non-poor vulnerable people,” comprised of 19.5 percent of the total population, which “have the possibility of falling into the social strata immediately below them because of a decrease in their purchasing power [which can] be due to an increase in prices that exceeds their salary.”