An estimated four million Argentines live in poverty in metropolitan Buenos Aires of which 1.2 million are described as indigent, which means they don’t have minimum resources to purchase the basic food basket according to a survey from SEL Consultores released this week.
This represents 31.2% and 9.7% of the total population of Metropolitan Buenos Aires which includes the capital Buenos Aires and the so called greater Buenos Aires or industrial belt. However these percentages are lower in the capital, 13.9% and 3.1% than in Greater Buenos Aires, 36.8% and 11.8%.
Unemployment also reflects this situation: 10.5% for the whole area during the first quarter of 2009, equivalent to 750.000 people; here also the percentage breaks down to 8.1% for Buenos Aires city and 12.3% for the rest of the metropolis.
The survey was done during May with interviews in 1.000 homes of the metropolitan area and show data similar to that prevailing in Argentina in 2006. Since then it’s hard to establish comparisons because Argentina’s Statistics and Census Office, Indec, which was considered very professional was taken over by then President Nestor Kirchner who filled it with political cronies to have numbers tailored to his interests.
This means that for the “new” Indec the poverty index in metropolitan Buenos Aires stands at 14.2% which represents less than two million people. Similarly with the cost of the basic food basket and the definition of poor or indigent: Indec puts the price tag at 324 Argentine pesos, less than 100 US dollars, while for SEL the tag is 484 pesos, equivalent to 125 US dollars.
Ernesto Kritz from SEL defined an unemployed as a person out of a job and who has been looking for one in the last 30 days. Indec adds the question “in the last week?” which considerable reduces the number of unemployed and thus justifies an 8.2%.