The General Directorate of Statistics and Census for the city of Buenos Aires estimated that a family of four, including two adults and two minors, living in the city needs to earn AR $14,620 per month in order to stay above the poverty line. Compared to March of last year, that’s an increase of AR $3,391, or 30.2 percent.
The poverty line, which indicates the basic minimum wage needed to afford sufficient food, housing, utilities and so on, rose more than the destitution line, which describes only the cost of food for the family of four. This is likely due to increased tariffs on utilities, like gas and electricity, whose inflation repercussions are not represented as directly in food costs.
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Over the last year, the destitution line rose 24.1 percent to a monthly cost of AR $7,260, which is AR $1,408 higher than last March. Day to day, families needed to earn AR $242 to feed themselves sufficiently.
Besides the family of four, who have a six and nine year old child (Hogar 1), the report also included statistics for different earner categories, including a retired couple (Hogar 2), a younger single earner (Hogar 3), a young couple with a house (Hogar 4) and a young couple without a house (Hogar 5). Across all categories, as is expected with inflation, the basic costs of living have increased for both the destitution line (first row) and poverty line (second row). Each line is compared to the previous month, as well as last March.
What would you the hypothetical family of four have to earn to move out of poverty? Into the middle class? The General Directorate of Statistics and Census March earning reports March’s earning categories for the four-person family:
Social services, including welfare and some nutrition services, are dependent on earnings, so updated reports are valuable to gauge if the program cut-offs are realistic. For example, the Universal Child Allowance delivers benefits to families with children and expectant mothers based on tiered income brackets. Other social services, like welfare and nutrition support, are varied in efficacy, however.
For example, Argentine Law N° 25.724, The National Food and Nutrition Plan, was passed in 2002, which created a movement for the “Creation of the aforementioned program, intended to cover nutritional needs of children until age 14, women who are pregnant, people with disabilities and the elderly from the age of 70 in situations of poverty.” 15 years later, and nothing has been implemented.
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National program coordination is limited, with only a few home agricultural services and emergency food supplies, which can be found on the Department of Social Development’s page. Provincial response to poverty, food and housing concerns varies, too, but more services are available on a local level, including Buenos Aires’ main hub for food support in San Telmo.