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ARGENTINA | 13-12-2018 16:40

UCA report says 33.6% of Argentines are living below poverty line

Highest recorded level for at least eight years, with more than a third of country now considered to be poor.

Poverty in Argentina has risen to its highest level in at least eight years, a new report has revealed, with more than a third of the population now considered to be poor.

The new survey, from the Catholic University of Argentina's Social Debt Observatory, found that 33.6 percent of Argentines were living below the poverty line in the third quarter of the year.

That equates to 13.6 million people, an increase of almost 2.2 million individuals in relation to a year ago, according to UCA's data, when just over 28 percent of Argentines were considered to be living in poverty.

Of the latest figures, 2.47 million were considered to be living in extreme poverty –  a rise of 161,500 people from the same period last year.

"In the third quarter of 2018, 25.6 percent of households and 33.6 percent of people fell below the poverty line," the report says, highlighting that Argentina was facing its highest levels seen since at least 2010.

The Social Debt Observatory, headed by Agustín Salvia, gained prestige for its skill in measuring poverty cover the past decade, when the INDEC national statistics bureau stopped offering reliable statistics during the Kirchnerite administrations.

"The incidence of poverty in this period [third quarter of 2018] reaches levels higher than those recorded in 2016, when significant devaluations caused a rise in inflation and a fall in 
purchasing power," the study's authors noted, explaining that over the last year "the Argentine economy went from a cycle of growth to a strong recession," highlighting the impact of recent economic turmoil and the devaluation of the peso earlier this year.

"The new scenario has had an effect on the real income available to household, [leading to] a deterioration of the purchasing power of salaries, retirement pensions and social welfare programmes," the study concluded, adding that the current macroeconomic climate had proven "unfavourable" for the labour market and the creation of jobs.

The new report casts a long shadow over the Mauricio Macri administration's attempts to tackle poverty. Just last week, a jarring new study by UNICEF, created in conjunction with several local universities, has revealed that 48 percent of Argentina’s children and adolescents under 18 were poor.

Using a new multidimensional method to measure poverty levels, the UN organisation said that of the 6.3 million children considered to be living in poverty, a further 20 percent were living in extreme poverty.

- TIMES/NA

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