Poverty rose to 27.3 percent on the first half of the year, representing a 1.6-percent increase on the latter half of 2017, the INDEC national statistics bureau confirmed today.
The new figure is a 1.3-percent drop, however, year-on-year compared to the first six months of 2017.
The ‘destitution’ index that registers those living in extreme poverty reached 4.9 percent, a thin 0.1-percent increase compared to December 2017 and a 1.3-percent drop compared to the first six months of last year.
The figures mean that 501,354 more people are now under the poverty line, while 34,206 more people have slipped into extreme poverty so far this year. According to INDEC’s data, there are now 12.2 million people who are considered poor in Argentina, with 2.1 million people considered to be living in extreme poverty.
According to the statistics, the largest numbers of poor people are concentrated in the Greater Buenos Aires area, with 3,843,746 people living below the poverty line. The city of La Banda, in Santiago del Estero, is the place with the highest poverty index in the country.
Reacting to the figures, President Mauricio Macri said he acknowledged the hikes poverty and destitution, anticipating those figures will worsen in the near future.
“We were expecting this news after some turbulent months. It’s not an easy piece of news,” he said. “Poverty doesn’t go away by not measuring it. We’ll always tell the truth. We know that in the future, with the same sincerity, we’ll show that we are moving ahead.”
Macri said his administration’s goal is to reduce poverty and he said that, because the economic recession, “this will take a longer time.” He anticipated that the upcoming indexes would deliver negative headlines yet vowed despite that to keep working on reducing poverty, to “leave the foundations for whoever comes next,” a reference to Argentina’s next president.
Macri started his presidency with poverty standing at 32.2 percent in the second quarter of 2016, after years of unreliable data from the INDEC. He was then able to lower the figure to 30.3 percent on the second half of 2016.
The decline continued in 2017 with a 28.6 percent figure on the first half of the year and a 25.7 percent poverty rate on the second half of the year.