Poverty In Argentina Climbs to 42% After Historic Recession

Argentina’s poverty rate rose to 42% in the second half of 2020 as the nation suffered its worst recession in two decades due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The number of Argentines living beneath the poverty line rose 1.1 percentage points from the first half of the year, according to data published by the statistics agency. Argentina’s gross domestic product nosedived 9.9% in 2020, the worst annual decline in the crisis-ridden nation since its historic collapse in 2002, driven by drastic lockdown measures.

That drop, which capped a three-year long recession, comes even as Argentina spent heavily to cover Covid welfare programs, printing an estimated 1.7 trillion pesos ($18.5 billion) to cover pandemic aid. Even when accounting for the social assistance, Argentina saw poverty increase by the most in Latin America, according to a recent UN report.

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Poverty In Argentina Climbs to 42% After Historic Recession

The country’s statistics agency, INDEC, has changed the way it measures poverty several times in recent decades, and was at one point censured by the International Monetary Fund in 2013 over inaccurate statistics. Still, it’s the highest poverty rate since 2004 using the different statistical series available.

The only other recent periods of higher poverty in Argentina came after its hyperinflation crisis in 1989 and a historic default in late 2001, according to past INDEC data.

The spike in poverty has exacerbated inequalities in Argentina. In the city of Buenos Aires, with a much wealthier population, 16% of residents live in poverty, compared to 51% in the province of Buenos Aires, INDEC data shows.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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