The INDEC statistics agency has published poverty figures for the first time in almost three years, a welcome change that should help bring some clarity to the current social situation in the country. Yet the figure released by the INDEC was also shockingly high, revealing that 32.2 percent — basically one in three — of Argentines are poor.
This figure means that Argentina now officially has a poverty rate that is not only higher than the regional average but also higher than most other countries in the region.
According to the latest estimates by the U.N.’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), 28.2 percent of the population in the region is poor, and 11.8 percent is destitute. That means Argentina has a higher poverty rate than the regional average, but a lower destitution rate at 6.3 percent.
Argentina’s poverty rate is also higher than that of Peru, which claimed that 21.8 percent of its population was poor in 2015, and Colombia, which reported a poverty rate of 27.8 percent last year. Paraguay, meanwhile, reported an official poverty rate of 22.2 percent last year, and a destitution rate of 10 percent.
Of course, a disclaimer is in order: it’s difficult — if not downright misleading — to make direct comparisons like this considering each country uses different methodologies to determine what it considers poor. No, such direct comparison would never pass any kind of muster with your old social studies professor. But the differences are still telling.