“Today we have 10 percent of people in a situation of indigence, without programs such as the Emergency Family Income (IFE) and the Alimentar Card, the percentage would have doubled, and almost tripled without pre-covid programs. ” The claim was made Agustin Salvia, director of the Social Debt Observatory of the Argentine Catholic University (UCA) during the presentation of the annual Caritas collection.
The Observatory presented the report “A face behind each number. X-ray of poverty in Argentina ”, which includes a simulator of the multidimensional indigence and poverty rate achieved based on each policy implemented by the Government.
The UCA calculated that in 2020 multidimensional poverty reached 44.2 percent of the population. Multidimensional poverty differs from income poverty calculated by the Indec and the official statistics institutes of most countries in the world because it takes into account, in addition to income, fundamental dimensions for human development such as food and health, housing dignity, access to basic services, access to education, employment and social security and access to a healthy environment.
Of the two most important programs implemented during 2020, the IFE prevented multidimensional poverty from being 6.4 percentage points higher. Without the IFE or the Alimentar Card (which prevented the percentage from increasing by 1.3 points), poverty would have been 50.9 points. The impact is even greater when the report takes into account the Universal Child Allowance and other programs: it would have risen to 53.1, almost 9 percentage points more than the one calculated by the agency.
The impact of the programs is much greater in the case of extreme poverty. The UCA calculated that in 2020 10.1 percent of Argentines were indigent. Without the IFE, that number would have jumped to 18.3 percent. Without the impact of IFE, the Alimentar Card, the AUH and other programs, the indigence would have reached 27.9 percent.
To reverse this situation, “we have to generate more work, through public investment and private investment, especially from small and medium-sized companies, which need to have a horizon of certainty. And we need to lower inflation, in these high inflation scenarios, no effort is enough. It eats everything, the goods we can access and the energy to plan, “said Salvia.
According to the work, childhood is particularly affected by this situation. Today, more than half of the boys are poor, a level that rises to almost 75 percent in the Buenos Aires suburbs and other areas of the country. One of the data that impacts the most is food insecurity: “This means that of four guys who sit at a table, only one eats every daySalvia graphed.
In the section “Children at Risk”, a graph on food insecurity and free food assistance in school and community spaces, shows that 34.3 percent of children between 0 and 17 years of age suffered total food insecurity in 2020 and 15.6 “severe” food insecurity.
In 2020, 46 percent received free meals in canteens, schools or other spaces. Of this percentage, 9.12 percent received direct food aid, 22.8 percent helped with the Alimentar Card and 14.04 percent both assists.
The report also addresses the psychological discomfort that results from this social situation. In this sense, 24 percent of the population reaches anxiety and depressive symptoms, which increases in poor households to 30.3 percent. Among those who were food insecure, 53.1 percent of female heads of household suffered psychological distress and 34.3 percent of female heads of household.
It also shows how families fell below the poverty line while still maintaining jobs, and precarious jobs and the informal economy were the main harmed by the health measures adopted by the national government for the purposes of the pandemic.
Salvia warned that the purpose of the work is not to denounce responsibilities but to give an account of the importance and need for solidarity action: “It is still important to clarify that when one presents these data it is a way of questioning the political leaders. Our social debts are structural, they did not arise nor are they going to end the pandemic if we do not do something to change the reality that is going through us ”.