The economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic has worsened poverty in Argentina, with some 12 million people in urban areas unable to afford a basket of basic food or essential services in the second half of 2020, official data showed Wednesday.
In the 31 large cities that were studied, the country’s poverty rate rose from 40.9 per cent in the first half of the year to 42 per cent in the second, according to the National Institute of Statistics.
This represented a steep climb of 6.5 percentage points from the last six months of 2019.
Poverty is defined as the inability to afford a basket of basic food and services valued at some $600 for a family of four.
People who cannot afford a basic basket of only food — about $250 for a family — are classified as indigent. They numbered 10.5 per cent of the population in 2020.
More than 57 per cent of children up to age 14 lived in poverty, the data showed.
The figures come on the back of three years of recession, worsened by economically devastating lockdown measures taken to quell the global health crisis.
Not helping matters was an inflation rate of 36.1 per cent in 2020, as incomes failed to increase in tandem with the price of food and other goods. The unemployment rate is over 10 per cent.
Argentina registered its highest poverty rate of 58 per cent at the end of 2002, during its worst economic crisis.
Thousands of people marched in Buenos Aires earlier this month to demand food aid.
The COVID-19 pandemic has killed some 55,000 people in Argentina out of more than 2.3 million recorded infections.
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