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ECONOMY | 15-05-2024 16:26

More than 330,000 porteños have dropped out of middle class in last eight years

Shrinking middle class in Buenos Aires is explained by a "generalised decline affecting all social sectors, even the wealthiest," concludes new CEM report.

More than 330,000 people in the nation’s capital have slipped out of the middle class over the last eight years, according to a new report. 

A survey by the Centro de Estudios Metropolitanos found that the percentage of middle-class homes in this city has fallen from 54.7 percent in 2015 to 44.3 percent last year, with the loss of 112,000 households in that segment over the last eight years. 

In absolute numbers, out of a total of 1.4 million households, this sector has fallen from representing 713,000 homes in 2015 to 601,000 last year, according to CEM.

In terms of persons, the middle class has dropped from 1,585,000 in  2015 to 1,254,000 in the last quarter of 2023.

Argentina has suffered from economic crisis for much of the eight-year period, with poverty now affecting half the population and annualised inflation running at almost 290 percent.

The decline of the City middle class over the period studied is explained by a "generalised deterioration affecting all social sectors, even the wealthiest,” said CEM.

“The upper-class sectors representing 16.7 percent of households in 2015 now number 9.5 percent," indicated the report.

In that context impoverished households in this city have doubled between 2015 and 2023, passing from 11.2 percent to 24.3 percent. Among the poor the destitute were the fastest-growing sector, passing from 2.8 percent in 2015 to 8.6 percent in 2023.

CEM warned of the impact of policies introduced by the government of President Javier Milei, who took office last December with a vow to tackle runaway inflation and boost insipid growth.

“The policies of the Milei government are speeding the fall of the middle class. Slumping wages and the disproportionate price increases have deepened the gap between them,” said CEM director Matías Barroetaveña, a City lawmaker representing the opposition Unión por la Patria coalition. 

“The City’s middle class is declining while poverty and destitution are also growing among the most vulnerable sectors. City Hall has the funds and should generate policies of social containment to prevent this happening,” the Peronist deputy added, pointing to the Buenos Aires City government led by Mayor Jorge Macri.

“Faced with this panorama, it would be indispensable to have a City Hall committed to policies for the most vulnerable sectors but also policies which relieve the burdens which the Milei government has loaded on the backs of the City middle class, affecting consumer and activity and deepening the socio-economic decline of our society,” added Darío Romano, the coordinator of CEM’s Labour and Production area.



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