A family of four needed almost $100,000 in May to stay out of poverty


In the midst of strong inflation -it reached 60.7% in the last 12 months, the highest figure in 30 years-, the total basic basket (CBT) had an increase of 4.6% in May, so that a family made up of two adults and two children in Greater Buenos Aires (GBA) needed a monthly income of $99,677 that month to avoid falling below the poverty lineas reported on Tuesday by the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (Indec).

Although the price index for the fifth month of the year registered a slowdown compared to that of April (it was 5.1% against 6% in April), it continues to have a strong impact on two decisive indicators that set the pace of social welfare. The food basket, which only includes essential goods, had a rise of 4.6% in the fifth month of the year. Thus, a household needed $44,499 to not be considered indigent.

Analyzed in year-on-year terms, the Total Basic Basket (CBT) had an annual rise of 54.7%, which places it behind the general rate of prices. In this sense, the most critical record is that of the food basket, whose value grew 62.3% in May, above inflation.

The two indicators are decisive for measuring the impact of the economic crisis on social indicators. This happens because the basic basket – which in addition to food includes other spending items such as clothing, health, transportation or education – determines the so-called “poverty line”. In other words, households with incomes below the CBT are those that are considered poor.

In the same way, the food basket –which has a limited scope of basic necessities– is the one that configures the “line of indigence”: those families that do not cover the necessary income to acquire the CBA are indigent.

The last official measurement showed that 37.2% of the population – some 17.4 million people – is considered poor in Argentina and 8.2% lives in indigence. According to data from the second half of 2021, in this way, the main social indicators showed an improvement compared to the 42% of poverty that marked 2020 and the 40.6% of the first half of last year.

Both poverty and indigence had a cut, explained by the economic recovery of more than 10% in 2021 that was accompanied by a rebound in employment numbers. Still, that relief was very partial, especially for families living on income from unregistered jobs. For reference, informal workers lost by about 12 percentage points against inflation.

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