In spite of the good inflationary showing in Argentina for the last quarter of 2003, just 1%, for those Argentines living in poverty or below the poverty line the consumer price index was almost four times higher.
According to official Argentine government statistics the basket of basic food staples during the fourth Q jumped 3,7% and the basket of basic goods 3,22%. This means that an average Argentine family, (young couple with two children, 5 and 8), to remain above the poverty line needs a monthly income equivalent to 246 US dollars and similarly to remain above indigence, approximately 114 US dollars.
With incomes remaining unchanged it is estimated that with every point increase in the price of the basket of basic goods, 130,000 Argentines drop from poverty into indigence, according to social affairs consultant Equis. This being the case, 481,000 Argentines during the 4 Q would have seen their social condition worsen, neutralizing the advances achieved during the two first quarters of 2003.
For Argentine families to remain above the poverty and indigence lines, taking as reference December 2001 when the Argentine economy melted, their group income should have since increased 55% and 75%.
Last April 2003 the Argentine Statistics Institute estimated that nine million Argentines lived in indigence, including 450,000 workers who actually had formal jobs but were unable to earn sufficient to cover basic needs.