Urban Poverty in ArgentinaArgentina has struggled economically for decades. While the entire nation suffers during times of crisis, urban poverty has become a prominent facet of the nation’s dwindling economy. Urban poverty in Argentina has been growing, and its effects go beyond financial hardships. Poverty entails multiple dimensions of deprivation, including poor access to food, health services, basic amenities, housing, a clean environment and education.

The Dimensions of Urban Poverty

The extent of urban poverty in Argentina has had devastating effects. During the first semester of 2020, millions of city dwellers were burdened by poverty levels. The impact is widespread, with almost 12 million Argentines living below the national poverty level, constituting 40.9% of the urban population. Additionally, 3 million people live below the extreme poverty level, representing 10.5% of the urban population. This marked the most significant rise in urban poverty since 2016. While the impact is felt across various age groups, there is an unequal distribution of its effects. The age group between 15 and 29 experienced the most pronounced increase in poverty. Notably, the highest concentration of urban poverty is in children between 0 to 14.

A Multifaceted Lack of Access

Alarming statistics from 2021 reveal that 26% of urban Argentinians struggle to access adequate food and health services, while 28% lack basic amenities like running water and electricity. Housing conditions exacerbate the issue, with 21% enduring insecure living arrangements and limited access to health care. Environmental factors further compound the hardships, as 26.5% live in polluted surroundings. Education for adults and youths, a crucial pathway out of poverty, remains a concern, with 31.5% lacking suitable opportunities.

Furthermore, a 2016 national exam showed that students from urban primary schools scored lower on average than rural establishments in both language and math.

Labor Market

Underdeveloped neighborhoods and those who live in these communities have also been experiencing a harsh labor market with a growing presence of impoverished workers, as half of the urban workforce is grappling with labor-related challenges. These workers receive a monthly income 30% lower than the average employed worker. The Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina (UCA) published a report on national employment from 2003 to 2022, showing disheartening results. The report highlights the alarming dominance of unregulated and informal jobs in urban Argentina. A shocking 43.8% of the urban labor force worked in the informal sector in 2022. Argentinian urban poverty leaves millions working in an industry without social protection and with income instability and exploitative working conditions.

Fundación Si

While urban poverty in Argentina is a damming issue, some people work tirelessly to improve these people’s livelihoods. Fundación Si Argentina is an NGO founded in 2012 that specializes in tackling poverty nationwide. Its focus is to improve the quality of life and chances of social inclusion for those in vulnerable economic positions. The NGO has projects regarding youth housing, homelessness, community development and natural disasters. 

Fundación Si Argentina offers housing and financial aid for underprivileged graduates to promote access to education. It also performs nightly trips to provide food, medical attention and emotional support to the nation’s homeless. Community involvement is prevalent, as programs give the young and underprivileged a sense of togetherness, solidarity and social responsibility while also creating a nurturing space for expression and belonging. Moreover, the organization swiftly provides aid as it collects donations and plays its role in rebuilding affected communities when natural disasters occur. 

The organization´s Argentinian altruism has had an impressive impact. Fundación Si Argentina has over 3,000 volunteers across the country who address the realities of urban poverty. There are 520 students living in Fundación Si Argentina’s student housing centers, 1,147 people are supported on a nightly basis, more than 2,100 kids participate in its weekly programs and more than 400 food shelters are supported. Numerous Argentinians are getting consistent aid due to the tremendous work of this organization. 

Looking Ahead

Urban poverty in Argentina is a pressing issue that hinders the quality of life of millions of people. The struggle to access essential resources like food, health care, housing and education is compounded by an arduous labor market, leaving these people in a state of vulnerability. Nevertheless, efforts like those of Fundación Si Argentina provide a glimmer of hope. Individuals are working tirelessly to remedy these harsh realities and enable citizens to achieve improved standards of living.

– Agustín Pino
Photo: Unsplash

Poverty in Argentina
Currently, 37% of people live below the poverty line in Argentina and are struggling due to the inconsistency of prices and jobs from inflation and changes in unemployment. Poverty in Argentina affects over 17 million people in the country, learn more about the unique struggles in Argentina.

Historic Inflation and Recent Economic Disaster

Argentina has felt the effects of intense inflation since the 1980s, but in recent months has seen record increases in these rates. The year-on-year inflation rate is the highest it has been in the past 30 years, exceeding 60 points, according to Peoples Dispatch. This increase has hurt those in the lowest income bracket the most, but the poverty rate is on the rise. It is estimated that 2,800 people are forced into poverty every day.

Despite that alarming amount, economists predict more could be hurt as the inflation rate could reach 90% by the end of 2022. The instability of inflation has made prices different on a variety of items that change weekly. This hurts those struggling to afford groceries and other necessities. The recent economic instability is a huge threat to those living in Argentina.

Unemployment, the Working Poor and the COVID-19 Pandemic

World events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic further impacted poverty in Argentina. The poverty rate hit between 46% and 47% towards the end of June 2020, at the height of the COVID-19-induced shutdown. The high poverty rate was due in part to the 3.5 million jobs lost during the pandemic. In 2020, the poverty rate related to an income of 14,718 pesos, or $193, per month.

The unemployment rate dropped to 7% at the beginning of 2022, however, the poverty rate includes 28% of Argentinians who hold jobs. The research found that from 2018 to 2022 that due to inflation and a combination of currency devaluation wages lost 20% of their purchasing power. The increase in unemployment during the pandemic increased the poverty rate, but as the unemployment rate decreased, the poverty rate did not.

The effects of outside events, like war or pandemics are global, but Argentina’s sensitive economy sees drastic changes easily. Changes in habitable actions and consumption also show the increase in poverty. For example, in 2021, Argentinians consumed the lowest amount of beef per capita (47.8 kilos) since the 1920s, Peoples Dispatch reported. The changes in unemployment and the increase in the working poor are changing poverty in Argentina.

The Future of Poverty in Argentina

The IMF began working with the Argentinian government in May 2018 and has a plan to help those most at risk. This calls for actions like the central banks to be independent and protect social spending. Those in poverty in Argentina need help since they are sinking even deeper into poverty.

Additionally, in May 2022, the Total Basic Food Basket increased by 4.6%. This means that a family of two adults and two children in Greater Buenos Aires must require an income of 99,677 pesos (or $796) per month to stay above the poverty line, according to Peoples Dispatch. This increase shows how difficult it is to survive in Argentina due to the fickle movements of the economy.

Changing economy and the socioeconomic inequalities that often affect employment rates further complicate poverty in Argentina. The recent increase in inflation implies there is a strong need for stability to save those falling below the poverty line every day.

– Ann Shick
Photo: Wikipedia Commons

Top 10 Facts About Hunger in Argentina
Argentina is the eighth largest country in the world and the second largest country in South America with a current population of over 44 million people. While Argentina has seen some progress in reducing the rates of hunger and malnourishment, the country still struggles with food insecurity among many children and families.

What Are The Top 10 Facts About Hunger In Argentina?

  1. Over the years, Argentina has been decreasing its hunger rates and achieved a less than five Global Hunger Index or GHI score. However, in 2015, 3.6 percent of the population was undernourished and the figures do not look quite good even today.
  2. Food insecurity in Argentina has become a reason for concern because the country lacks effective food management strategies to prevent wastage. According to Mercedes Nimo, Undersecretary of Food and Beverages for the Ministry of Agriculture, Argentina wastes about a kilogram of food per person each day.
  3. According to the report published by the Food Agriculture Organization (FAO) in 2018, 16 million loads of food are being wasted annually in Argentina. The Senate and ministries of Argentina are trying to devise strategies to reduce the wastage of food. Among the many efforts taken, September 29 has been declared as the ‘National Day for the Reduction of Food Losses and Waste in Argentina’. As of now, the law has issued a half-sanction approval on the date. The purpose of the day is to spread awareness about the tremendous loss of food, to promote effective strategies of food management and thereby lower the rates of hunger among the population.
  4. FAO also continues to strengthen food security in Argentina. Their priorities include evaluating the National Plan for Food Security and safeguarding the quality as well as the safety of food.
  5. Another organization fighting hunger in Argentina is The Huerta Nino foundation. It is a nonprofit organization located in Buenos Aires which works towards decreasing child malnutrition in the country. They do this by building organic gardens in rural schools. According to this foundation, over 43,000 children benefited from their work and currently they have about 500 active projects in Argentina.

  1. In 2015, the Huerta Nino project traveled to La Divina Pastora rural school in Mar Del Sur to initiate their project. The school has a population of 105 students of which 80 percent belong to poor families. According to the school Principal, Rita Darrechon, 10 percent of the students suffer from nutritional deficiencies from the moment they are born and in some cases even at the stage of prenatal growth. The Huerta Nino project aims to fight these nutritional deficiencies by teaching the students how to produce and grow their own food.
  2. Yet another organization that focuses on child nutrition in Argentina is Love Volunteers. It is a volunteer organization that has benefitted almost 3,500 unprivileged children.Volunteers at this organization provide children with technical and educational assistance while fulfilling their hunger and nutritional needs.
  3. According to Love Volunteers, their ‘Child Nutrition Volunteer Program’ provides nutritious food options to the underprivileged families, educate families and children on the importance of nutritious meal, and thereby improve the general health of the people. The project has the desire to provide food and promote healthy eating habits to children and families who are struggling.
  4. In 2015, the White Helmets Commission, the body of Argentina’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship that facilitates humanitarian assistance, joined the World Food Programme to fight against hunger in the country. These agencies developed an agreement that aims to improve the assistance provided in emergency situations by ensuring timely distribution of food in the areas affected by disasters.
  5. Last but not least, Barrios de Pie is another organization and movement that aims to decrease hunger in Argentina. According to Public Radio International, also known as PRI, in 2018, the soup kitchen created by them provided food for children in La Matanza, a province in Buenos Aires. Their aim, therefore, is to urge the congressional members to approve a food-emergency bill which would add $568 million in funds to support soup kitchens and food policy issues.
  1. These top 10 facts about hunger in Argentina represent the country’s consistent efforts in fighting and eliminating hunger. The many organizations operating in the country provide hope to find solutions and strategies to end the hunger epidemic in Argentina.
  2. – Charlene Frett
    Photo: Flickr

Causes of Poverty in Argentina
The poverty crisis in Argentina is extreme. The government estimates more than a full third of the population is living below the poverty line, and 20% live on less than two dollars per day. Poverty in Argentina means that 11% of people are estimated to be unable to meet basic food needs, and the poverty crisis hits minority groups the hardest.

Those that live in the mountainous regions of the northwest have poverty rates of over 50%, and those residing in the rainforest regions of the northeast are even higher, at over 60%. Women and children are disproportionately affected as well, with poverty rates roughly twice that of the national average.

The causes of poverty in Argentina are systemic and deeply rooted in the history of the country. The late 1980s and early 90s marked when the Argentine economic system collapsed due to inflation rates of nearly 20,000%. No system has seemed to work properly since then, with severe economic recessions occurring in 2002 and 2016.

Inflation and Poverty in Argentina

Currently, inflation rates hover around 40 percent, which is one of the most significant causes of poverty in Argentina. Industries nationwide have been hobbled, and Argentinian exports have gotten reduced. Additionally, due to high inflation, both foreign investors and domestic consumers have little confidence in the potential of their purchasing power.

Despite the multitude of causes of poverty in Argentina, the country is far from without hope. Mauricio Macri, who got elected in 2015 as President, has staunched the flow of inflation and economic recession. He has eliminated many unnecessary government subsidies and tariffs, increased export revenue and unified the national exchange rate. This political change has led to increased production from the agricultural, real estate and construction sectors, as well as slowed inflation.

The struggle is far from over. With midterm elections approaching, Macri and his party recognize that the relatively minimal improvements may not be enough to allow his party to continue the good work they have begun. The deficit remains high, debt levels are rising and many of the worst affected people have yet to feel the end of the recession. There remains a great need for foreign investment and aid.  This support is necessary to both alleviate regions perennially affected by economic strife and to assist the country as a whole in raising itself to self-sufficiency.

Connor Keowen

Photo: Flickr