An estimated 11 million Argentines or 26.9% out of a population of 40 million live in poverty according to the Social Observatory from the Argentine Catholic University, (UCA) based on a survey taken at the end of last year. However according to Argentina questioned stats’ office Indec, in the second half of 2012, poverty was down to 5.4% of the population equivalent to 2.2 million poor.
The figures from the UCA Social Observatory are fivefold higher that those with which the administration of President Cristina Fernandez uses as reference. Likewise while last year for Indec the poverty index was down (6.5% to 5.2% or 400.000 less), for UCA from 2011 to 2012, the index soared from 21.9% to 26.9%, which means two million more poor Argentines.
Regarding indigence something similar happened because for Indec, only 1.5% of the population (660.000) is included in that category but for UCA it is 5.2% or 2.2million. And while for Indec indigence in one year was down from 1.7% to 1.5%, for UCA it climbed from 5.4% to 5.5%.
For Indec at the end of 2012, a standard family (a couple with two children) with income of 714 Pesos or higher was no longer indigent, for UCA based on the provincial and university price stats, the same basic basket of food cost at least double that sum, 1.449 Pesos.
In other words all those families that Indec did not describe as living in indigence because they made over 714 Pesos monthly, for UCA the threshold was 1.449 Pesos. Likewise with poverty: for Indec a family is poor if it made less that 1.588 Pesos a month. But for UCA the poverty basket minimum was 3.226 Pesos, almost double.
Finally the vast number of poor and indigent in Argentina not only includes pensioners but also a percentage of the working population. According to the latest standing poll of homes, at the end of last year, over half the people working (8 million) were making less than 3.500 Pesos per month, to which must be added 1.1 million unemployed with no known income at all.
However these stats are even more dramatic in the so called poverty rings surrounding Buenos Aires city and the Northern provinces were, again according to Indec, over half the people interviewed were making less that 2.500 Pesos per month.
With increasing financial uncertainty and lack of confidence Argentina is undergoing a run on the US dollar which means that while at the ‘official’ rate it is traded at 5.10 Pesos, in the black market the value soars to over 8.25 Pesos.